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Asia Pacific Business Review
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DOI: 10.1177/097324700800400102
2008 4: 17 Asia Pacific Business Review
N. Kamakodi and Basheer Ahmed Khan
An Insight into Factors Influencing Bank Selection Decisions of Indian Customers

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Asia-Pacific Business Review
Volume IV, Number I, January - March 2008
pp. 17-26. ISSN: 0973-2470
An Insight into Factors Influencing Bank Selection
Decisions of Indian Customers
N.Kamakodi * and Basheer Ahmed Khan**
Indian banking industry is undergoing metamorphosis in terms on adoption on technology automation:
New generation private sector banks which came into existence in the last ten years have l!amed substantial
market share and government owned banks are losing market share to these new banks. It IS very Important for
the banks to understand the preferences of the customers to offer the services required both to attract new
clients and protect existing client-base from migrating to other banks. A survey was conducted. and
obtained from 292 clients were analysed to understand the factors that influence the bank selection
The top 10 parameters based on importance are found as Safety ofFunds. secured ATMs
reputation. personal attention. pleasing manners. confidentiality. closeness to work. timely service and
friendly staff willing to work.
For the past two decades, both the global and Indian
banking industries have been undergoing rapid
changes, reflecting a number of underlying
developments. The most significant change has been
advances in communication and information
technology, which have accelerated and broadened the
dissemination offinancial information while lowering
the costs ofmany financial activities. Alot ofstructural
changes were introduced in 1991 in the Indian banking
industry, which coincided with the Information
Technology Revolution of the 1990s. Reserve Bank
of India (RBI) appointed a committee under Dr
Rangarajan in 1980s to implement computerisation in
phases to improve customer service, productivity and
enhance management control. A new class of banks
"New Private Sector Banks (NPSBs)" came into
existence as a result of liberalisation of Indian
economy,which competed with both foreign banks and
Indian banks for market share. The domination of
Public Sector Banks has declined over the years with
the entry and aggressive expansion of the Private
Banks. NPSBs perceived future competition among
banks would be essentially based on the technology
and developed state ofthe art technology infrastructure,
comparable to that of banks in developed countries.
The government owned commercial banks today have
a market share of around 75% (down from the earlier
'SASTRA University, Thanjavur, Tamilnadu, India
"Pondicherry University, Pondicherry, India
.E-mail:, .. E-mail:
95%), the private sector banks about 20% and the
foreign banks about 5% (Kannabiran and Narayan
(2005)). NPSBs also stress that importance of branch
banking will diminish by Information Technology
based channels like ATMs, Internet/Mobile/Phone
banking etc. Tech-savvy foreign banks and NPSBs
have progressed a long way in offering a wide range
ofinnovative services to their clients while other banks
(both PSBs and Old Private Sector Banks (OPSBs))
are racing to catch-up. All the banks are moving
towards core banking solutions and are investing
heavily on Technology. As almost a decade is over
since the arrival ofNPSBs, it will be in the fitness of
things to study in the Indian context the banking habits
and preferences of Indian customers. A survey was
conducted and the responses received from 292
respondents were analyzed to understand the
perception on technology based services and
preferences in banking. The study listed the factors of
importance in choosing a bank by customers and also
measured the performances in a five-point scale.
Literature Survey
The business literature is flooded with vast array of
information on the customer preferences ofcustomers
various countries, while such data is limited in the
Indiancontext. Even though customer preferences vary
from country to country based on the culture,
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demography, affordability, IT penetration etc., study
ofthe scenario in the other countries may throw some
light to us on the subject.
Profitability of banks and growth of client base are
interlinked. With intensifying competition in the
market, it is very important for the banks to understand
"Howcustomers choose their banks?" Then only banks
can take proper marketing efforts to increase client
base. Improper identification of true determinants of
consumers' bank selection decision may result in poor
results for marketing efforts. Management's failure to
identify customers' desire is one kind of quality gap
(Zeithmal et al., 1990).
It was found that Bank customers tend to be loyal
provided they are satisfied with its service and stick
on to the same bank for five to seven years on an
average and they change over only when they move to
a new home in an area outside their bank's network.
(Huber et al., 1998)
Khazeh and Decker (1992) analyzed the determinants
of consumers' bank selection decision thro a survey
conducted among 1198 of business school alumni of
Salisbury state university in Maryland using a
questionnaire containing 22 factors that were identified
to influence the banking decision. Service charges, the
reputation of the bank, interest rates on loans, time
required for loan approval and friendly tellers were
identified as the top 5 determinants of bank selection
decision. Effective advertising was considered as least
important (Rank 22) while ATMavailability, closeness
to work, closeness to home were ranked 12, 16 & 17
respectively. Focusing customer attention on low
ranking factors may do little to attract new customers
and on retaining the existing one.
Thwaites and Vere (1995) studied the student buying
behavior of banking services and concluded that
students are not convinced about the concept of
financial supermarket and were more inclined to shop
around for the best offer. They were also found
conducting business with more than one institution and
were not particularly loyal.
A survey ofcustomer perceptions ofcompeting banks
and their attributes are essential in providing the bank
manager with usual representation ofcustomers' view
on banks attributes and position in market place. A
study conducted by Zineldin (1996) in Sweden
highlights the importance of effective market
Asia-Pacific Business Review
positioning and has examined the concept of bank
positioning and different approaches that a bank can
use to occupy competitive position in competitive
market place. The study highlights the fact that a well
integrated application oftechnology and staffhelps to
build customer loyalties by creating deeper and fuller
customer relationships. The study lead to the
conclusions that from the bank's customers point of
view, factors relating to the functional quality such as
friendliness and helpfulness ofpersonnel, accuracy in
account transaction management, efficiency in
correcting mistakes and speed ofservice and decision
making, are the most important determinants of bank
selection. Results implied that convenience oflocation,
price and advertising had a minor effect on bank
selection. The results also indicated that the
performance ofthe contact personnel, word-of-mouth
and technological based services might also
compensate for an overall low score offactors such as
full service provider.
Edris and Almahmeed (1997) conducted a study at
Kuwait and concluded that the true determinants of
bank selection decision made by business customers
are more likely to be a function of both perceived
importance ofbank attributes and the difference among
banks in a given region with regard to each of these
Ulengin (1998) indicated that customer in Turkey was
more interested in the functional quality of financial
services rather than the technical quality dimension.
The study further concluded that as there were no big
differences among financial products offered by banks
and the quality of financial products offered by banks
are much beyond expectations of the customers,
delivery channels and customer relations gain
importance in bank choice process as there were a lot
ofproblems in those areas. The substantive conclusions
of this study are that, on an average, respondents of
the survey prefer the extended customer loyalty
programs, the continuous information flow from the
bank, the off site ATMs, the minimum waiting time in
the branches and a simplified applications form for all
accounts a bank offers.
Nielson et al., (1998) conducted a survey ofCEOs of
business firms and banks to find out how well banking
industry in Australia understands the need of their
business clients. Significant differences were found for
six factors, which business firms consider prior to
Vol. IV, No.1, January - March 2008
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establishing a banking relationship. Business firms
were found to place far more importance on the banks
willingness to accommodate their credit needs, the
efficiency ofbanking operations and the fact that banks
have knowledge oftheir specific business. On the other
hand, banks felt it was more important for them to offer
competitive prices, full range of services and provide
a personal banking relationship.
Mylonakis et aI., (1998) concluded that the most
important bank selections criteria are convenience,
bank reputations, quality of products and services,
interest rates and fees, education and personnel
contacts, facilities, branch environment, services and
after service satisfaction. Their research on bank
customers of Greece showed that bank selection
criteria like location-convenience, quality of service
(attention to the customer, personalized service, no
queues) seen to influence the bank selection and factors
like Advertising did not seem to influence bank
customers at all.
Phuong and Har (2000) under took a study of bank
selection decisions in Singapore using the Analytical
Hierarchy process through a study of banking
preferences ofcollege students. The findings indicated
that the most important criteria affecting
undergraduates' bank selection decisions are higher
interest rate for saving, convenient location and overall
quality ofservice. They are followed by the availability
of self bank facilities, charges on services provided
by banks, low interest rate on loans, long operating
hours, availability of students privileges and
recommendations by friends and parents specifically.
The respondents considered overall quality of service
more than twice as important as recommendations by
Almossawi (2001) studied the bank selection criteria
by students ofUniversity ofBahrain. Findings revealed
that the chief factors determining the bank selection
by students were: Bank's reputation, availability of
parking space, friendliness ofthe bank personnel and
availability and location of ATMs. Study also found
that the priorities ofmale and female students differed.
Devlin (2002) analysed the customer choice criteria
in retail banking market in the UK on the potential
variations in the importance ofvarious choice criteria,
which were classified as either intrinsic or extrinsic,
with respect to customer financial knowledge. Intrinsic
Asia-Pacific Institute ofManagement, New Delhi
attributes were defined as those specific to a particular
service rather than generalisable across services like
price and service specific features. Extrinsic attributes
were those factors that are not specific to a particular
service and can be generalized across offering like
service quality factors, corporate brand and
relationship factors. It was found that lower
knowledgeable groups were particularly influenced by
extrinsic criteria of location of the branch and
recommendations that they receive. Even though such
extrinsic factors were found to influence higher
financial knowledgeable groups also, higher
knowledgeable groups were found more likely to take
account ofintrinsic attributes such as service features,
rate of return and low fees in their choice.
Studying and understanding customer defection/
switching process is equally important as studying
customers bank selection process as losing clients can
have negative effect in bank's market share and profit.
Levesque and McDougall (1996) investigated the
major determinants ofcustomer satisfaction and future
intentions to switch in the retail banking sector. 17
items were selected to measure service quality and
switching intentions such as service quality dimensions
(e.g. getting it right at the first time) service features
(e.g. competitive interest rates), service problems,
service recovery and products used. It was found that
service problem and the bank's service recovery ability
have a major impact on customer satisfaction and
intentions to switch.
Colgate and Hedge (2001) studied the process of
defection in Australia and NewZealand through a mail
survey. The study indicated three main problem areas,
which influenced customers to switch banks, were
service failures, pricing problems and denied services.
This finding is important in our context of study
because, a client may switch to another bank because
his present banker may not provide a service, which
the customer thinks most important. They further add
that customers tend to complain more often about
services failure prior to exiting firm and customers may
be staying silent about the problems that are most
important in their decision to exit the firm.
Aish et aI., (2003) compared the bank selection
decisions of the small business market across UK and
Egypt and the results advocated various similarities
and provides evidence to suggest that brand plays
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major role in the bank selection decisions of the small
businesses at both UK and Egypt. The study reinforces
the opinion that technical quality (quality of service
itself) is more important than functional quality (quality
of the service provider) in bank selection decisions.
More specifically both Egyptian and UK small
business customers consider financial items (fees,
interest rates and credit availability) as the most
important factors in bank selection decisions.
Devlin and Gerrard (2005) studied the relative
importance of various choice criteria for main and
secondary banks. Results showed that relatively
rudimentary factors such as location, recommendation
and relationships were important choice criteria when
choosing a main bank. Though the same criteria were
found to be strongly influential in choosing the
secondary bank, offering an incentive was also
significantly more important in prompting the choice
ofsecondary bank. Service exception was found to be
significantly more important for main bank as were
low fees and over draft charges.
Indian financial market is very diverse and the
preferences of services change across demographic
factors like education, age, sex, salary/earnings level
etc. Hence, in an attempt to get a true representative
sample, we sought the help ofone ofthe leading retail
financial services companies. The company advises
clients on various investment options like mutual funds,
shares, bonds, Insurance etc. The clientele of the
company includes clients ofvarious banks and has over
100 branches across various states of India. Out of
their over one hundred branches, twenty branches were
chosen carefully covering fifteen cities and towns
including three of the four metros spreading across
eight states across India.
The main instrument used for this research study was
the questionnaire/survey designed by the researcher
based on the factors which were selected from various
empirical research works covered in the literature
survey and were finalized after several rounds of
discussions with select panel of bankers, customers
using banking services and an academician.
Twenty five questionnaires were sent to each ofthose
twenty branches asking them to get the questionnaires
filled up by clients who came to their offices for
investment purposes. After about ten days 292 filled
up questionnaires were received back i.e. response rate
Asia-Pacific Business Review
When the answers were analyzed (Table 10), it was
found that about 55 %ofthe respondents were banking
with public sector banks, 7% with old private sector
banks, 25% with new private sector banks, 9 % with
foreign banks and remaining with cooperative banks
and others, which means that Public sector banks are
under represented by 20 % against their market share
and others are over represented to that extent. This
figure approximately represents the market share of
respective categories in towns and metros as the rural
market is almost monopolized by public sector banks
which results in higher market share for PSBs. Wehave
not covered rural market in this study.
In educational qualification about 70% of the
respondents (Table 8) were graduates and post
graduates, 15 % school final/Diploma and balance
were professionally qualified and others. About 15%
ofthe respondents reported monthly income (Table 9)
over Rs 100,000, about 15% between Rs 50,000 and
Rs 100,000, 30% between Rs 10,000 and Rs 50,000
and remaining below Rs 10,000. About 80% of the
respondents are male. This may be because ofthe fact
that still male members ofthe family make investment
decisions in most of the families and since the
questionnaires were filled by persons who came to the
branches of the investor advisory services company
(Table 6).
Analysis and Discussion
The questionnaire listed the important factors
identified as the influencing factors on decision making
and satisfaction levels of the clients from various
studies referred in the literature survey and captured
the respondents' perceived importance of the factors
viz. a viz. the performance ofthe bank on each of the
factors. The responses were captured in a scale of 1to
5, 1 - representing the "Very Important" while 5
representing "Not at all important". The weighted
average scores of all responses were calculated and
the scores on importance were ranked and tabulated.
On analyzing the Table 1, the following things may be
observed. The safety of funds is the most important
factor (Rank 1) for the respondents in choosing the
bank. When the top 10parameters based on importance
are listed safety of funds, secured ATMs, ATMs
availability, reputation, personal attention, pleasing
manners, confidentiality, closeness to work, timely
service and friendly staff willing to work are rated as
Vol. n ~ No.1, January - March 2008
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top ten factors of importance in making a bank
selection decision. Having the "Salary account" has
been ranked 34
in terms of importance by the
respondents but while the reason for switching ofbanks
were analysed (Table 3), it became the third most
important factor for switching. It could be that even
though the customers may not want to switch bank,
the employers' decision of having the salary account
with another bank, has forced customers to switch over.
26.4% ofthe respondents (Table 2) have changed their
prime bank in the last ten years. Change of residence
was found to be the most important factor with 8.9%
while 7.2% (Table 3) ofthe respondents have changed
their prime bank as technology based services were
not available with their earlier prime bankers.
5.1% have changed their prime bank as their employer
had the salary account with the new bank.
The percentage of people changed is almost equal to
the total market share acquired by New Generation
banks in the past 10 years.
16.8% (Table 4) ofthe respondents have reported that
they were planning to change their prime bank in near
future for which 6.2 % (Table 5) have cited the absence
of IT based services as the reason for change, 3.4%
cited the employers choice of new bank to disburse
salary as the reason while 2.7 % cited likely change of
their residence as the reason for changing their prime
Conclusion and Recommendation
The top 10 factors of importance influencing the
respondents to choose the bank are Safety of funds,
Secured ATMs, ATMs availability, Reputation of the
bank, personal attention, pleasing manners ofthe staff,
confidentiality, closeness to work, timely service and
friendly staffwilling to work. It is understandable that
safety of the funds is ranked number one in making
the bank selection decisions. The factor "reputation
of the bank" also has the perception about "safety of
funds" built in it. At the same time "advertisements"
is ranked only at 39, which lead to the opinion that
"advertisements" on stand alone basis do not rank any
where on the top of the customers in making bank
selection decisions. This factor has to be studied in
detail to understand the role ofadvertisements in bank
selection decisions.
It is found that availability ofATMs finds a top priority
in customer bank selection. Hence banks' have to give
Asia-PacificInstitute ofManagement, New Delhi
due importance in establishing a wide ATM network
or entering into alliances with various banks. While
studying the switching behaviour or bank clients,
availability of Technology based services is found to
be a major reason for clients to switch banks. Hence
banks have to work on that area to understand the needs
ofthe client and have to implement strategies to satisfy
the needs in order to retain their existing clients and
attract new clients.
Similarly the soft skills of the counter staff members
has a significant role to play in influencing bank
selection decisions of the customers, which is evident
from the fact that five out oftop ten factors are found
to be the factors linked with the performance of the
staff members. Hence banks have to take significant
efforts in selecting, training and motivating the staff
members to perform to the satisfaction of customers.
While rate of interest on deposits (rank 12) has a
significant influence in bank selection decisions, clients
are ready to pay reasonable service charges (rank 38).
The area of factors influencing customers on bank
selection needs further research works to validate the
findings with larger sample size and findings will help
banks to make proper decisions in IT strategy.
Aish EMA, Ennew CT, McKechnie SA, et al., (2003),
"A cross-cultural perspective on the role of branding
in financial services: The Small Business Market."
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Devlin JF. (2002), "Customer Knowledge and Choice
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"Business banking in Australia: a comparison of
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Table 1: Ranking of "Factors of Importance"
Parameters Weighted average Rank Importance
Score of Importance Rating
Safety of funds 1.50 I
Secured ATMs 1.60 2
ATMavailability 1.61 3
Reputation 1.61 4
Personal attention 1.65 5
Pleasing manners 1.66 6
Confidentiality 1.67 7
Closeness to work 1.69 8
Timely service 1.70 9
Friendly staff willing to help 1.71 10
Clear communication 1.74 11
Higher rate of Int-deposits 1.74 12
Size of the bank 1.74 13
Quick/prompt service 1.75 14
Minimum waiting time 1.75 15
Convenient working hour 1.75 16
More No.ofbranches 1.78 17
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Table 1 (Continued)
Parameters Weighted average Rank Importance
Score of Importance Rating
Good complaint handling 1.80 18
Any branch banking 1.81 19
Modern looking(building) 1.83 20
Prompt response 1.83 21
Ease contact branch manager 1.83 22
User friendly ATMs 1.84 23
Brand name 1.84 24
Connectivity to other bank's ATMs 1.87 25
Accuracy/absence of errors 1.89 26
No breakdown ofmachine 1.90 27
Closeness to home 1.90 28
Delivering what is promised 1.90 29
Dependability 1.90 30
Secured internet banking 1.98 31
Employees dress & appearance 2.01 32
User friendly net banking 2.03 33
Salary account 2.04 34
Easy connectivity 2.05 35
Higher rate ofInt-loans 2.06 36
Debit card 2.09 37
Low/reasonable service-charges 2.10 38
Advertisement 2.11 39
Staffknowledge 2.12 40
Innovative services 2.14 41
Error free net banking 2.16 42
Internet banking 2.18 43
Depository services 2.22 44
Phone banking 2.25 45
Credit card 2.30 46
One stop banking 2.33 47
Other it based services 2.44 48
Friend's referral 2.61 49
My father's bank 2.62 50
Source: Primary Data
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Table 2: Have You Changed Your Bank In Past 10 Years?
Responds of Respondent No. of Respondent Percentage
YES 77 26.4
NO 210 71.9
Blank 5 1.7
Total 292 100.0
Source: Primary Data
Table 3: Reasons for Change Your Bank in Past 10 Years?
Reasons No. of Percentage of Percentage
Respondent people changed of total
says "yes" the bank in last respondent
10 years
IT based services not available with previous bank 21 27.3 7.2
Changed my home 26 33.8 8.9
Salary account with new bank 15 19.5 5.1
A specific request for a service was denied I 1.3 0.3
General Service level of previous bank was not 4 5.2 1.4
up to the expectation
Attracted by advertisements of present banker I 1.3 0.3
Attracted by marketing efforts of present banker 0 0.0 0.0
Easy loans given by present bank 4 5.2 1.4
Requested Isuggested by a friend, customer, 2 2.6 0.7
business partner etc.
Interest rate service charges were unfavorable 0 0.0 0.0
with previous bank
Others 1 1.3 0.3
Blanks 2 2.6 0.7
Total 77 100.0 26.4
Source: Primary Data
Table 4: Do You Plan To Change Your Banker In Near Future?
Responds of Respondent No. of Respondent Percentage
YES 49 16.8
NO 232 79.5
Blank 11 3.8
Total 292 100.0
Source: Primary Data
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Table 5: Reason for Changing Your Banker in Near Future
Reasons No. of Percentage of people Percentage
Respondent changed the bank of total
says "yes" in last 10 years respondent
IT based services not available with previous bank 18 36.7 6.2
Changed my home 8 16.3 2.7
Salary account with new bank 10 20.4 3.4
A specific request for a service was denied 0 0.0 0.0
General Service level ofprevious bank was not 0 0.0 0.0
up to the expectation
Attracted by advertisements of present banker 2 4.1 0.7
Attracted by marketing efforts of present banker 0 0.0 0.0
Easy loans given by present bank 5 10:2 1.7
Requested Isuggested by a friend, customer, 0 0.0 0.0
business partner etc.
Interest rate service charges were unfavorable 0 0.0 0.0
with previous bank
Others 0 0.0 0.0
Blanks 6 12.2 2.1
Total 49 100.0 17
Source: Primary Data
Table 6: Sex wise distribution of respondents
Sex No. of Respondent Percentage
Male 231 79.10
Female 60 20.60
Blanks 1 0.30
Total 292 100.00
Source: Primary data
Table 7: Age wise distribution of respondents
Age (Years) No. of Respondent Percentage
< 18 2 0.70
18 to 25 55 18.80
25 to 35 79 27.10
35 to 45 47 16.10
45 to 55 49 16.80
55 to 65 29 9.90
65 to 75 23 7.90
> 75 5 1.70
Blank 3 1.00
Total 292 100.00
Source: Primary Data
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Table 8: Education-wise distribution of respondents
Education No. of Respondent Percentage
School Final 13 4.50
Diploma 26 8.90
Graduate 120 41.10
Post-Graduate 87 29.80
Professionally Qualified 34 11.60
Doctorate 6 2.10
Others I 0.30
Blanks 5 1.70
Total 292 100.00
Source: Primary Data
Table 9: Monthly earning-wise distribution of respondents
Monthly Earnings No. of Respondent Percentage
Greater than 5 Lacs 9 3.1
Between 2 to 5 Lacs 16 5.5
Between I to 2 Lacs 19 6.5
Between 50000 to 1 Lacs 43 14.7
Between 25000 to 50000 32 11.0
Between 10000 to 25000 55 18.8
Between 5000 to 10000 59 20.2
Less than 5000 37 12.7
Blanks 22 7.5
Total 292 100.0
Source: Primary data
Table 10: Type of Bank wise Respondents
Type of Prime Bank No. of Respondent Percentage
Public Sector Bank 160 54.8
Old Private Sector Bank 21 7.2
New Private Sector Bank 73 25.0
Foreign Bank 25 8.6
Co-Operative Bank 9 3.1
Blanks 4 1.4
Total 292 100.0
Source: Primary Data
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