How Loyal are Wachovia and Washington Mutual Customers?

Now that the dust has begun to settle on the acquisitions of Washington Mutual by Chase and Wachovia by Wells Fargo, the question now is whether WaMu and Wachovia customers will remain customers of their current bank or transfer their assets to another bank. Some WaMu and Wachovia customers may perceive transferring their assets to another bank as a perceived flight to safety to banks not as entwined in the current economic upheaval.

We first looked at loyalty rates among top banks to get a better understanding of whether certain online banking customers are prone to shop the competition or stick with their current bank when shopping for a similar financial product. Below, you can see that 51% of WaMu online banking customers in market* for a checking account considered opening a checking account online at WaMu. Likewise, 46% of Wachovia’s customers considered opening a checking account online at Wachovia. According to our data, both WaMu and Wachovia have above average loyalty rates with the average among this competitive set being 33%. Bank of America ranks the highest among this competitive set with a 53% loyalty rate.

*In market is defined as online bankers that visit shopping checking product pages

**Loyalty rates are based upon shopping behavior of current online banking customers in market for a checking account between January and June 2008

Second, we looked specifically at the online behavior of WaMu and Wachovia customers to understand which banks may be getting new business from WaMu and Wachovia customers in the near future. The competitor most likely to receive business from both WaMu and Wachovia customers is Bank of America – 37% of WaMu online bankers and 45% of Wachovia online bankers researched Bank of America’s checking products online between January and June 2008.

It should be interesting to see how WaMu and Wachovia customers react in the coming months. But, in both cases, with almost half of their customers prone to shop on other competitors’ sites, there is a real opportunity for other banks, especially Bank of America, to capture additional market share.

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