August Analysis of US Banking Apps: Uncovering the Decline of Huntington Bank

Executive Summary:

US Banking App Rankings August 2023

In the rapidly evolving banking landscape the performance of digital banking platforms - notably mobile applications - has become instrumental to a bank's reputation and customer satisfaction. Within the intricate maze of monthly rankings and performance scores lies the tale of Huntington Bank. Once the torchbearer in the world of mobile banking apps, today it finds itself grappling with numerous challenges underlining its precipitous fall from grace. In our recent Touchpoint Group Banking App Insight session, we deep-dived into these perturbing performance metrics, deciphering what's been dragging Huntington Bank down the ladder.

October last year bore witness to Huntington Bank's zenith. Ranked first among US banks, it was an exemplar for many. However, a year on, and the tables have turned dramatically. They have slipped from that coveted first place position to the very bottom of the ranking table in August 2023. The spotlight of our discussion, led by the meticulous Tony Patrick, was Huntington Bank, and the journey of its decline proved to be both insightful and a cautionary tale for other financial institutions.

One of the critical indicators of banking app performance is the 'Engaged Customer Score'. This metric sheds light on customer feedback, providing a granular view of both their scores and associated comments. What emerged from the scores is that while some banks, like Truist, showcased consistent improvement, others, like Capital One and Chase, witnessed fluctuations in their monthly performance. Huntington's trajectory, however, was an unambiguous downward curve, accentuated by sharp drops and a continual decline.

Delving deeper, Tony's analysis highlighted some alarming revelations. Reliability and stability – two cornerstones for any banking app - saw a distressing jump of 10 percentage points for Huntington. Put simply, one in every three Huntington app users faced some reliability issue, a statistic that is severely disconcerting. For perspective, while Huntington struggled with a 35% reliability issue rate, other market leaders maintained figures below 10%.

Furthermore, bugs, crashes, and freezes, those pesky disruptions that can mar user experience, were alarmingly high for Huntington. At 16.9%, their performance was the third-worst, surpassed only by Bank of the West and USAA. Compare this to their state in October of the previous year: reliability issues were confined to 16%, and authentication issues were far less rampant. 

The troubles don't end there. When it comes to basic functionalities - such as checking account balances – Huntington languished with a meager average score of two. Such elementary features are the bedrock of any banking app, and challenges here can drastically impact customer perception. While best performers like US Bank have predominantly positive reviews in this segment, Huntington's feedback paints a sea of red – replete with complaints, concerns, and challenges.

Tony Patrick's comprehensive analysis of Huntington's downfall wasn't merely an academic exercise. The micro metrics, while significant, culminate in creating the holistic user experience. Improving just one aspect, like checking account balances, could potentially boost their score by 0.1 - a seemingly insignificant figure, but one that could translate to vastly improved customer satisfaction.

In conclusion, numerical scores, percentages and rankings provide us with vital analytical insights that empower well informed decisions that can resonate throughout organizations. They represent user experience, trust, and the longevity of customer-bank relationships. As Glenn Marvin aptly summarized, these yardsticks, in the end, help sculpt better experiences and foster lasting client relationships. As we gear up for next month's analysis the banking world waits with bated breath to see which institution takes the limelight – for better or for worse.

‚ÄčVideo Transcript:

Glenn Marvin (00:01.442):
Welcome to another Touchpoint Group Banking App Insight session. We are looking at the US banks for the month of August 2023. And this month, the key focus is going to be on Huntington Bank and how they have been on the slippery slope from first in the rankings in October last year through to now last. Tony Patrick is going to dig a little deeper. uncover some of the areas that are really dragging the Huntington performance down. Tony, we're going to look at some of those incremental little bits and pieces that they should be focusing on that all add up to a big difference, aren't we?

Tony Patrick(00:50):
Exactly. Thank you, Glenn. It's a lot of those small things added up that help make that difference. Let's just jump in. 

Obviously we're covering off these banks today. We'll give you an update on each of these and where they stand and how they've moved recently. 

So what I'm going to do is jump straight into our normal approach, which is looking at the scores. Now, what we're looking at now is actually what we call the engaged customer score. These are customers who've given both a score and a comment. What that does, it allows us to tightly hone in on where the issues are happening. And any movements we see here, we can clearly explain them. This is a lot more sensitive than these banks would be seeing with their own internal data. One of the US banks is doing very, very well here, although they're still having, when I say having trouble, they still, they're sort of that gap between them and 4.8 is sort of bigger than it has been before, not a major trouble for them.

One of the biggest movers recently has been Truist. They've actually, historically they've been jumping up and down and have these issues for two months for customers, then they pick themselves up. They seem to have been on a nice trajectory now, very positive. Let's see how they go next month though because the biggest thing here is maintaining that level. 

P&C is jumping up and down, and Capital One we looked at last time, and the story for them was that gradual decline. And we see, we looked at that in July, in August they've gone one notch lower. There's something there that needs to be looked at. And if Capital One wants to look at the last month's review, we can see exactly why that's moving backwards. 

Let's have a look at the next perspective here. What we're looking at here is a few different movements. One of the biggest ones is Chase. This is the biggest movement they've had. It's a very positive move for them, and it brings them up to a level above 4 for the first time in a long time. They need to maintain this level. As I said, maintaining these levels is the hardest thing for these groups. 

The likes of Discover, they have flattened out, but they, again, they need to pick themselves back up to where they were in January last year. 

Let's step forward into, there's a lot happening in this chart here, but let me just put my mouse over a couple of things here. Fifth Third, although they're picking up, you can see that they've picked up to around, getting towards 3, but it's only back to where they were a year ago. It's taking a year to recover from that drop they had in November last year, a long move up for them and their customers. Hopefully they can maintain that and improve from that point there. 

But our focus today is looking at Huntington. One of the things about Huntington is amongst this group here of our regional banks, they were ranked first in October last year. And as you can see, they've been on a gradual decline with some declines more than others across months. But now, particularly because of Fifth Third moving up like they have, Huntington is now sitting last amongst this group. We'll discover why that's happened. 

Let's have a look, just isolate where Huntington sits at the moment. A few big dips below 2 here. And again, they've dipped recently in August. Let's have a look at why they may have dipped in August. What we're looking at here is looking at that July to August movement, a movement from 2.7 down to 2.3, what's happened? 

Well, one of the biggest things is reliability and stability has jumped up 10 percentage points. It was 25, it's now gone to 35. That's a massive problem for them. One in three customers are basically saying, I've got some sort of reliability problem happening with the app. For context, if you just look on the right here, what I'll do, I'll just have a look at this. How does that compare to others? And I'll just highlight Huntington here. 

Now, we want to get this number as low as possible because it's about reliability problems. And we can see there, Hunting are sitting at 35, not quite the worst, but amongst there with a few others sitting above that 30% level is really high. A few others down here are getting below 10%. These are our leaders across the market. That just shows what's possible with this approach. A couple of other small things about features and functionality and technical issues have also picked up for them. This area of bugs and crashes and freezes is interesting. Again, if we look at that and compare to others, at 16.9%, that's very high compared to others. In fact, it's the third worst. 

So we've got Bank of the West and USAA. And then Huntington, they need to really pick their act up in terms of those crashes, bugs ,and freezes for their customers. What I'll do now is have a look back further at what happened in October compared to the current period, just the current 3 months. What's happened in between those periods we can see here in October last year, Huntington had reliability issues at 16%. It's sort of under control to some extent, but it's more than doubled in the recent period - that's a problem. Authentication has more than tripled. That is again another problem there. And the needs are really good on top of that because 15% of customers saying, I have trouble logging in to some various degree. 

What I've done to the right here, just to get a quick summary of what's going on, I can see here the 3 major problems about logging in - just broad login problems. “Had to reset my password three times, app freezing or not loading after the sign-in process” that's obviously a problem when people try and log in there. An unrecognized device or verification code clearly, Huntington needs to review this log-in process and see where they can improve that because there's a lot to improve. I can even see some examples coming through here. And again, we can see there, this is coming through from a mix of Android, iOS coming through here as well. What I can do though as well is, I can have a look at how Huntington compares to others in this particular period. 

So if I look at this, if I benchmark this by bank and then look at Huntington as my main focus I can see, is 14.8% competitive? Well, it's way too high. Only two banks are having a worse time across this, across the past 3 months. That's Fifth Third and TD. Others’ average is 8.5 so others are doing a lot better than that, getting below that level of 9 and 10 whereas Huntington is up to around 15. So, clearly some level of improvement to be seen there for Huntington, and again if I just look at reliability - stability 34%. We saw that previously -  just have a quick look there we can see again that's like, there's a few that are worse, but again you don't want to be in that territory above that average, or above 20% in particular, but best practice as we can see is below that 10%. 

Now, there's other issues as well, but again, we want to focus on certain specific things to improve. What I'll do, I'll have a look at how they're going in another area. Now again, what I'm going to do here is just look at comparatively what's best practice. Now, one of the things I'll focus on is just one area right in the middle here about checking your account balance. It seems like a very basic thing. Like, ‘what's my account balance right now?’ I need to check that easily. Is that easy for me to do inside your app? Well, the answer it looks like here from Huntington customers is no, it's sitting at an average score of 2. Now again, here we want to get our score as high as possible. 

So, when customers are talking about checking their account balance, what's the associated score? 

So, what I'll do, I'll have a look at what US bank’s doing their best practice in this area. Now, first of all, on the right, we can see the comments. I think just focus on the colors of these scores here most of these are 5s. There's a couple of issues you see popping up, that's fine, they're not perfect. But again, we can see that there's a lot of green going on in here. If I look at, also if I look here in the explain area, and if I look at these concepts, we look at these particular topics around good check account balance, paying checks, and so on. We see a couple of small red things, like things like app account balance. Accuracy is slightly red, but again, most of this is green. Let's switch ourselves across to one which is just a bit lower. 

Look at Capital One again, not quite as good, but here you can see clearly there's a big difference. Now, we're getting a lot of red coming through about problems. ‘I've got problems checking my account balance. There's things I can't do with that.’ And then the examples give us an idea about what needs to be done to improve - less green all the way through here, a lot more sort of red and mid-level scores. What I can do though is just have a look at our 1s and 2s to get us to where the problem lies. We can see things like, I can't even see my, have to log in every time to see my balance, have to close the app and reopen to check my balance. Clearly, people having problems just doing something very basic from that perspective. Now, one extreme example then is just having a look at Huntington. 

Let's have a look at the customers there. And what we can see here is the comments are basically all red. It's hard to find green ones sitting in here. There's a couple, not too many though. If I go here to this area and have a look at the topics looking in here, I can see clearly it's all red. Clearly problems for customers in there as well. What we do find though is when Huntington fixes their login issues and fixes their reliability, this will also have a flow on effect to getting this up to speed. What does this all mean though? 

Let's have a look, what does it mean to me, to my score, and what I need to do? So again, this is one very specific micro-topic, but you need to improve it. You can see here what this is showing us is that the impact on the overall, on Huntington's score for just this one topic of just checking your account balance is nearly minus 0.1. By fixing this to the level of others they can gain 0.1 on their score just from this one topic. Again, it just shows us you need to be across-the-board finding-out where you can improve across lots of different areas to get your app up-to-speed and compete with the rest of them. Thank you, Glenn.

Glenn Marvin (11:27):
Yeah, very true, Tony. And while we may be talking about scores and 0.1 here and 0.1 there, the end result is, that’s just really a yardstick that we use, but the end result is it's a better experience, happier clients that will stay with those banks longer. Thanks, Tony, and I look forward to next month, and the magic that you'll uncover there too.