Banking Pet Peeves and Quarterly Trends

SUMMARY

In November 2010 we asked members of ECCU’s Ministry Advisory Panel (MAP)** what annoys them the most about their primary bank. The most frequently cited complaint was related to the location of branches and ATMs. Fees were the second most frequent complaint. On questions related to their banks’ alignment with their ministries’ missions, most (90%) survey respondents believe their bank contributes positively to society, while 51% don’t know if their bank contributes to causes contrary to Scripture. On quarterly trends, the third quarter of 2010 saw mostly declines for key ministry growth indicators.

**The MAP is composed of ECCU member and non-member ministry staff and leaders representing evangelical Christian churches, businesses, schools, and other ministries. This report was produced by ECCU’s research department.

BANKING PET PEEVES

This section of the survey sought to identify what annoys ministries most about their primary bank.

Question: What annoys you most about your primary bank?

The goal behind this question was to learn how banks can improve customer experience. Panelists were able to respond in free-text format. Their responses were grouped into general categories:

  • It is no surprise that the most frequently cited pet peeve was related to convenience, but more specifically, to branch and ATM location. It’s worth noting that all banks were the object of this pet peeve, even the largest ones.
  • Banking fees took second place with 16% of the respondents citing them as an issue.
  • 12% of respondents cited poor customer service. Some said they felt treated “like a number” despite what they considered to be long-standing relationships.

Here are some of the responses grouped in the “Other” category:

  • “They don't always let you know when they assess fees.”
  • “Lack of services that can be offered to staff.”
  • “Cumbersome check-signing change process.”
  • “They never call to see what they can do for you.”
  • “Difficulty with international wire transfers.”
  • “Does not actively work to promote our interests.”
  • “I use a courier, but if the cash is over $1,000 I must drive it to the bank.”

MISSION ALIGNMENT

This section of the survey sought to identify factors that could influence a ministry’s perception of how their bank or banking relationship is aligned to the fulfillment of their ministry’s mission.

Question: How much do you feel your bank contributes positively to society?

  • 90% of respondents believe that their bank contributes positively to society.

 

Question: How much do you feel your bank contributes to your ministry’s mission?

  • 28% of respondents feel their bank does not contribute very much or at all to their ministry’s mission.
  • 73% of respondents feel their bank somewhat or greatly contributes to their ministry’s mission. 63% of these ministries bank with a Christian financial institution.

 

Question: Does your bank contribute to causes contrary to Scripture?

The intent behind this question, aside from gauging alignment to mission fulfillment, was to learn how many ministry leaders evaluate the causes that their ministry’s investments are indirectly supporting. Organizations like the American Family Association seek to increase awareness about companies that directly support causes contrary to Scripture, because they believe an individual’s stewardship responsibilities extend beyond his or her church or job.

Here are our findings:

  • 51% of respondents do not know if their bank invests in causes contrary to Scripture.
  • 10% believe their bank does support causes contrary to Scripture.
  • Only 9% of respondents that don’t already bank with a Christian institution believe their bank does not support causes contrary to Scripture.

Perspective:
Although 90% of ministry respondents believe their bank contributes positively to society, a lesser number (73%) believe their bank contributes to their ministry’s mission. These perceptions provide a strong contrast for the question that really matters: Do ministries’ primary banks contribute to causes contrary to Scripture? 51% of respondents declared that they don’t know. Sometimes an Internet search is all it takes to find out. For example, we found the website for a liberal advocacy group that promotes causes in direct conflict with Scripture. It lists half a dozen well-known financial institutions as national corporate partners.

QUARTERLY TRENDS

Continuing with the quarterly trends format we began using in the July 2010 survey report (covering Q2 2010), the following charts provide our first quarter-to-quarter comparisons.

The format identifies four ministry types and up to five ministry sizes.

Due to sample size and missing responses to some of the revenue questions, not all ministry types or sizes are represented in this report. For example, colleges were grouped with K-12 schools. Also missing were small K-12 schools and mega parachurch ministries.

 

Churches
The following tables show reported church attendance and revenue for the third quarter of 2010 (Q3 2010) broken down by the average, lowest, and highest for each church size.

  • The average weekend worship adult attendance at respondent churches during Q3 2010 ranged from 39 to 7,300, with an average attendance of 2,105. This represents a 12% surge over the second quarter.
  • The average Q3 2010 revenue for respondent churches was $1,011,822, ranging from $65,137 to $3.07 million. Unlike attendance, the third quarter revenue was lower by 15% compared to the second quarter.
  • Overall, the average giving per attendee for Q3 2010 was $521 (down 29%).

 

Parachurches
The following tables show reported parachurch revenue for Q3 2010 broken down by the average, lowest, and highest for each ministry size.

  • The average Q3 2010 revenue for respondent parachurch ministries was $4.1 million, ranging from $48,890 to $10 million.
  • For the most part, revenue was up during the third quarter, with a very slight drop of 1% at small parachurch ministries.

 

Schools
The following tables show reported school enrollment and tuition revenue for the Q3 2010 broken down by the average, lowest, and highest for each school size.

  • The average enrollment at respondent schools during Q3 2010 ranged from 327 to 1,000, with an average enrollment of 592. However, these results are skewed upward because no small school ministries were represented in this survey.
  • Overall, the average tuition revenue per student was $5,396. This number is also misleading because the third quarter of 2010 includes summer months. During these months, enrollment decreases, but the ministry may receive income from prepaid tuition and summer programs.

 

Q3 2010 vs. Q3 2009 Trends for All Ministries
The following chart represents all ministries and their responses comparing Q3 2010 to Q3 2009 revenue:

  • 48% of responding ministries experienced minimal change (+/-4%) from the same period in 2009.
  • 35% reported a decline in revenue and approximately half that number (16%) reported an increase.

 

Perspective:
The third quarter is usually the toughest for most ministries, and this was reflected in the quarter-over-quarter changes in revenue, attendance, and enrollment. The year-over-year comparison was somewhat discouraging, with 34.6% of ministry respondents reporting lower revenues and only 17% reporting increased revenues. Given the news of the economy’s emergence from depression, many expected that ministries would also see some improvement. At ECCU we continue to pray for ministry leaders everywhere, for wisdom and endurance, and we encourage you to do the same. The recovery will catch up to ministries in his time.

 

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