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Users are heading to blogs, forums, and discussion boards to express their banking frustrations.


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Online Discussion Relating To The Big Four
According to a study by Nielsen Online, online discussion spiked immediately following specific incidents related to banks, such as the Commonwealth Bank’s recent rate rise or Westpac’s blunder which saw a New Zealand couple receive a surprise deposit in their bank account.

Nielsen Online’s Director of Analytics, Mark Higginson said that banks should keep in touch with their customers by knowing what they are saying online.

“The findings of our study only serve to further emphasise to companies the importance of knowing what consumers are saying online. As more and more brand managers acknowledge this fact, we have certainly seen increases in the number of our clients looking to track, analyse and understand their online sentiment.”

53 percent of negative comments associated with Westpac in May 2009 related to a New Zealand couple who received an erroneous deposit of $10 million into their account, whereupon they withdrew the money and went into hiding.

 

Many of the comments ridiculed Westpac or wished the couple well (“I’d love to see them get away with it,” one commentator said). Westpac’s overall sentiment levels online were skewed by the incident – only 12 percent of online discussion in April regarding Westpac was negative, compared to 34 percent in May following the error.

A massive 50 percent of online discussion around the Commonwealth Bank’s rate rise involved negative comments towards the bank. The bank did have its supporters though – around 21 percent of commentators defended the bank’s right to raise interest rates, while just over a quarter (29%) stayed on the fence, providing neutral opinions.

On other topics, the Commonwealth Bank also elicited numerous comments about scam emails – 11 percent of comments relating to the Commonwealth Bank in May were about scam emails purporting to be from the bank.

Other online discussion threads covered areas such as mortgage application processing delays. With mortgage application processing times extending as a result of the rush of first home owners signing up for a new home before the Government grant runs out, 20 percent of negative comments online about all the big four banks were about how long they were taking to process mortgage applications.

Nielsen said that the National Australia Bank escaped mostly unscathed by consumers’ online comments, having generated the highest percentage of positive sentiment online (23%).

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