Back to DMR in the Press

Bank of America receives a third of negative comments made online about the US banking sector

Bank of America receives a third (33%) of negative comments online about US banks, but only 16% share of positive ones. Conversely American Express (Amex) achieves the highest share of positive comments (36%) but only 12% of negative ones. Amex also achieves highest Net Sentiment Score (66%) closely followed by US bank with 64%. These findings are according to the latest web listening report from social media research specialist DigitalMR.

Columbus, OH. Social media research specialist DigitalMR releases latest findings on what customers are saying about US financial service companies online.

DigitalMR analysed thousands of customer comments regarding banks for the month of November 2011. Interestingly a large proportion of customer views monitored were positive (62%), compared with 38% being negative about their customer experiences.

DigitalMR’s report (powered by SocialNuggets) analyses thousands of customer comments posted via a range of relevant finance related websites and open access social media platforms. It measures not only the number of comments posted by consumers on the internet, but also sentiment – whether these posts are positive or negative.

Results are based on comments posted by consumers on the major US banks: CitiBank, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, US Bank, American Express, HSBC, Capital One, Barclays, JP Morgan Chase Manhattan and US Bancorp.

The banking service brands with the highest share of overall mentions were: Amex (27%), Bank of America (22%), Citibank (17%), and Wells Fargo (15%).

There was, however, a large difference between the positive and negative mentions that these banks generated. Amex achieves the highest share of positive comments (36%) but only 12% of negative ones. Conversely, Bank of America attracted the largest share of negative comments (33%) which is more than twice its share of positive ones (16%).

Taking the difference between positive and negative posts into consideration, the winner for November is Amex with a Net Sentiment Score (NSS) of 66%, followed by US Bank with 64%.

Third placed is Capital One with an NSS of 40%. A strong NSS score is an indication of high overall satisfaction levels among customers. Only one bank had a negative NSS – Bank of America with a NSS of minus 11%.

Ryan Rutan, President of DigitalMR USA commented: “nearly two-thirds of all customer feedback measured has been positive which is good news for US banks and Amex in particular. However Bank of America continues to receive a higher proportion of bad reviews and this month is the only bank with negative an NSS of minus 11”.

Net Sentiment Score (NSS)

Most of the banks we measured, achieve a positive Net Sentiment Score (NSS) for November. NSS provides an overall percentage score of net positive posts. A positive score means a bank attracts more positive than negative posts, while a negative score suggests a higher proportion of negative posts.

The average NSS taken across all banks measured is 24%, which shows that US consumers are happy to use social media as a space to spread praise as well as share experiences of frustration and unhappiness with the service they had experienced.


1) Net Sentiment Score ranking


Net Sentiment Score for US Banks


2) Breakdown of positive and negative posts

US Banks Positive Posts

US Banks Negative Posts


3) Features and Services

DigitalMR measured thousands of customer posts across November regarding the services and features that banks offer. Services attracting a much higher proportion of positive mentions to negative ones included: Credit Cards (39% positive vs 15% negative). Services attracting a higher proportion of negative comments included: Mortgages (10% positive vs 23% negative).


4) In their words –customer comments


“I opened a high-yield personal savings account with American Express. It is easy to transfer funds between external accounts; however, the transfer does take about 6 days. This doesn't bother me though because I can just plan in advance when I need to schedule transfers”.


“Amex, you guys are excellent. Your transactions reconcile faster than any other banks I deal with, your gold card knows no limits (pardon the pun), & your customer service is top notch. Never an issue disputing a charge on the off chance I have one and each time I have to use customer service, the staff is empowered to take a corrective step if necessary rather than asking a manager ever 30 seconds”


US Bank:

“US Bank was a great place to work. The team there always made everyone feel welcomed and wanting to reture. The tellers are very caring to the needs of there customers and always working hard to make sure that their every need is met”.


“I love the app - huge improvement over the last app - but I'd like to have the option to make payments to my U.S. Bank Visa Credit Card, U.S. Bank CreditLine, and U.S. Bank Home Mortgage all from the mobile app. Perhaps consider this for your next revision? Otherwise the app is great. :)”


Bank of America:

“Horrible Customer Service! Fees!!

Beware! I was with this bank for 7 years and one month i was charged over $300 in fees! When i called they gave me excuses of the economy and all these new programs that were going into effect... They put me in the red by $700! I paid off the account as quickly as i could and went to a credit union... I'm still trying to pay off their credit card, but that branch is by no means as bad as the regular banking”.


“New BofA Online Bank web site is a NIGHTMARE”

First time I tried a transfer, no detail showed but the balance show a decrease, I called customer support and they couldn't find the transaction and suggested I do it again. Well you guessed, the next day 2 identical transactions showed and it ran my balance below zero. So now I had to call customer service and get them to reverse the transfer and tomorrow I get to call again to reverse the overdraft fee”.


Wells Fargo:

"I just closed a 6 figure account with wells fargo today and the bank officer did not care!! Since wells fargo took over wachovia, the service has been horrendous. The bank officer in the syosset, ny branch gave me incorrect information so when i went to florida to specifically take care of business for my mother's account; i could not complete this business.


“Wells Fargo has tried to scam me, one of their emplyees was asking very detailed questions about my social security etc. Also they refuse to cash checks for me, and no one in that bank knows what there doing! I hate this bank!!!!


5) How can Banks use social media to their advantage?

Banks can use analysis of data from websites and other social media in the following ways:

  • Engage in a one-to-one dialogue with their customers and respond to negative comments.
  • Invite some of the customers to join online forums and chat groups to further express their views.
  • Positive sentiment can be leveraged in advertising.
  • Operations can learn about and fix specific branch performance issues.
  • Financial products can be adjusted, and new ones can be designed to meet customer needs.


About the syndicated banking report

The monthly banking report monitors thousands of customers’ online conversations through comments posted on open-access social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, forums, blogs, microblogs and commercial websites, for US banking services.

The report is available on annual subscription with updates provided on a quarterly, monthly or weekly basis. Results will be updated to the press on a monthly basis.



For regular reports and more information:

Ryan A. Rutan
tel: +1 (614) 638-0216


About DigitalMR
DigitalMR understands what people think and feel when they share views online. It is a specialist agency which provides a holistic approach to web based market research. It specialises in utilising social media research, especially active web-listening, and online communities to enhance its business consulting approach. The agency has pioneered new methods in online focus groups alongside tools such as video diaries, bulletin boards and online ethnography. DigitalMR is headed by founder and MD, Michalis Michael and has offices in London UK, Nicosia Cyprus, and Columbus Ohio, in the US.


About SocialNuggets
SocialNuggets technology delivers real-time market intelligence for fast moving industries by analyzing data from various social media sources with a mission to liberate social media data and sentiment analysis for use in real-time research of brands, products and features. SocialNuggets delivers ready to use market intelligence for various industry verticals including consumer electronics and banking. SocialNuggets data is delivered in bite size, ready-to-consume, infographics and is also available in the form of a full access to our data warehouse for analysis and integration with customers’ data. SocialNuggets, a Serendio company, was founded in 2011 with headquarters in Santa Clara, CA.



Share this article: