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USAA is Amazing

imageHow did USAA become the most innovative bank in America? I guess its big-bank competitors have been kind of preoccupied with other matters the past few years. And because USAA serves most of its 5 million banking customers remotely, it stands to profit from pushing the envelope in online/mobile delivery. 

The latest proof that the bank is both innovative and adored? Posting user reviews right in the middle of the homepage, an inventive and unique approach. And with an average score of 4.7 out of 5 for both checking and auto insurance, the reviews serve as a transparent and effective mass endorsement.

Here’s the breakdown of scores received on 6,350 total reviews for USAA’s free checking account (as of 12 Aug 2010):

     5 stars (excellent) >>> 5,550  (87% of total)
     4 stars (good) >>>>>>    329  (5%)
     3 stars (average) >>>>   154   (2%)
     2 stars (fair) >>>>>>>    110   (2%)
     1 star (poor) >>>>>>>     214  (3%)

Relevance for Netbankers: Frankly, I never thought I’d see user reviews posted anywhere on a bank site, let alone the homepage (note 1). If your customers love you, I mean really love you, customer reviews posted directly to an in-house site is a great way to prove it (note 2).

USAA homepage (12 August 2010)
Note: Ad on top for its new Auto Circle car-buying service, complete with its own iPhone app.



1. Bank of America also posted user reviews on its site, but the feature appears to have been discontinued a while ago. The last reference I could find on Google about the reviews was in Jan. 2008.
2. This would not be an easy project and would require a significant investment in ongoing monitoring and maintenance. More importantly, it requires a thick skin; your organization would have to be comfortable with a certain amount of complaints being posted. As good as USAA’s overall score is, there are still 314 poor reviews posted, 3% of the total. But allowing customers a salient vent-fest on your website may keep them from doing so in more public venues such as Twitter. It also gives you a chance to respond to and resolve posted problems.