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U.S. Small Businesses Increasingly Upbeat About Economy and Banks

February 20, 2024, 07:00 AM
Filed Under: Economy

Increased optimism among small businesses about the U.S. economy is carrying over to their banking relationships.

Falling inflation, a friendlier Federal Reserve and diminishing concerns about a recession have elevated small business owners’ and executives’ outlook for the economy to the strongest levels since 2022, according to new data from the Greenwich Business Community.

The Greenwich Business Community is a forum for over 28,000 U.S. small businesses and midsize companies to voice their feedback and rate their banks across multiple criteria, such as overall satisfaction, customer service, operational accuracy, etc. When asked to evaluate their banking relationships, small businesses reported improving interactions and service levels with their banks.

In 2021 and 2022, the number of banks earning Greenwich Awards in U.S. Commercial Banking dropped to historic lows as small businesses’ perceptions declined in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent business closures. That trend reversed itself in 2023 when the number of Greenwich Awards jumped by 42%, from 126 in 2022 to 217 in 2023. Driving that increase was a sharp jump in small businesses’ overall satisfaction ratings for national banks. Net Promotor Scores (NPS) for national banks also increased 30% from 2022 to 2023.

National banks achieved an increase in NPS by leveraging digital platforms into integrated hybrid coverage models to improve the quality and performance of the relationship managers who service small businesses on a day-to-day basis.

“High tech and high touch are not mutually exclusive,” says Chris McDonnell, Head of Community, Commercial and Digital Banking Analytics at Coalition Greenwich. “To the contrary, our data show a clear correlation between satisfaction scores for digital platforms and relationship manager coverage. Digital tools make RMs more effective, and effective RMs help clients get the most out of digital tools.”

The 2023 Greenwich Award winners in U.S. Small Business Banking stand out for their ability to combine high-quality day-to-day service and digital banking tools.

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