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New Banking Survey Results

Survey Finds Banking Experience is Improving, But Consumers Are Missing Easy Savings Opportunities

Despite having a checking account, 22 percent of Americans report using alternative banking products like cash checking services

CHERRY HILL, N.J., Sept. 25, 2014, TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, today released its second annual TD Bank Checking Experience Index, which found that the banking experience of Americans has improved year over year. According to the Index, 86 percent of consumers rate their day-to-day experience with their checking account as excellent or very good (compared to 83 percent in 2013) and 85 percent of consumers say their bank is excellent or very good when it comes to accessibility (compared to 83 percent in 2013). The TD Bank Checking Experience Index is a nationwide survey of more than 1,500 consumers with checking accounts at various financial institutions.

Although consumers are generally happy with the services provided by their banks, 22 percent of survey respondents with a bank account say that over the last three months they have used alternative banking products such as check cashing services (12 percent), money transfer agents (11 percent) and payday loans (4 percent). When bank customers were asked why they used alternative banking products, 16 percent said they did not have a particular reason for using non-bank financial services.

“One in five consumers with a bank account are using alternative banking products, which could add needless cost to their monthly budget,” said Ryan Bailey, Executive Vice President, Head of Retail Deposit and Payment Products, TD Bank. “Consumers who are using these types of services should have a conversation with a banker to learn about less expensive financial products that can meet their everyday financial needs.”

Banking Behaviors Continue to Evolve Debit cards and online banking play central roles in the banking behaviors of today’s consumers. A large percentage of those surveyed reported that their experiences with debit cards and online banking are excellent or very good (92 percent and 91 percent, respectively). Of the 23 banking transactions that checking account holders report making each month, on average, 10 are debit card purchases and six are conducted through online banking.

Across all survey respondents, 60 percent of checking account owners said their debit card is an essential service. An even larger number of Millennials (74 percent) can’t imagine not having a debit card. When it comes to online baking, 51 percent of consumers cite it as their preferred channel to conduct checking account transactions.

While services like debit cards and online banking are both vital, the Index found that a personal connection remains important to consumers. When asked about the last time they had a question or concern regarding their checking account, the majority of respondents still rely on a telephone call or a visit to a bank location to have questions answered. However, behaviors are evolving. Telephone outreach for issue resolution grew almost 9 percent over the past year (34 percent in 2013 vs. 37 percent in 2014) and in-person resolution at a bank location declined by 15 percent (40 percent in 2013 vs. 34 percent in 2014).

Triggers for Switching Banks Include Life Events and Fees The TD Index data also reveals that fees and life events remain major triggers for changing banks. More than one third (38 percent) say they would close their primary checking account or consider leaving their bank because of fees. However, only eight percent of respondents had closed or switched their primary checking account in the past two years, down from 12 percent in the 2013. Of the eight percent of respondents who reported closing or switching checking accounts in the past two years, the main reason for doing so was a life event such as moving (29 percent), followed by bank fees (27 percent).

Advice for Consumers Based on the results of the Index, Bailey offered advice to help consumers improve their banking experience while getting the most out of their checking accounts:

  • With 60 percent of Americans saying they can’t imagine not having a debit card, consumers should have a plan of action if their card is misplaced or stolen. They should check to see if their bank offers on-the-spot debit card replacement and access to 24/7 customer service.
  • Only 13 percent of Americans are using reloadable prepaid cards. This relatively new product category offers many of the benefits of a checking account, such as the ability to receive a paycheck through direct deposit and to make purchases online, and can serve as an introduction to banking for the population that currently depends on alternative financial service providers.
  • Nearly two thirds (62 percent) of Americans say their bank is offering products and services that take advantage of new technologies like mobile apps and mobile deposit. That means that 38 percent of account holders may not be enjoying the conveniences that modern banks are providing. Consumers who want access to the latest banking technologies may want to consider trying a bank that offers their customers the ability to manage their finances in more ways.

Survey Methodology The study was conducted among a nationally representative group of consumers from August 25 through September 1, 2014. The sample size of 1,510 consumers has a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percent. The survey was hosted by global research company Angus Reid Public Opinion.

About Angus Reid Public Opinion Angus Reid Public Opinion is the Public Affairs practice of Vision Critical—a global research company. Vision Critical is a leader in the use of the Internet and rich media technology to collect high-quality, in-depth insights for a wide array of clients.

About TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, is one of the 10 largest banks in the U.S., providing more than 8 million customers with a full range of retail, small business and commercial banking products and services at approximately 1,300 convenient locations throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Metro D.C., the Carolinas and Florida. In addition, TD Bank and its subsidiaries offer customized private banking and wealth management services through TD Wealth®, and vehicle financing and dealer commercial services through TD Auto Finance. TD Bank is headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J. To learn more, visit www.tdbank.com. Find TD Bank on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TDBank and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TDBank_US.

TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, is a member of TD Bank Group and a subsidiary of The Toronto-Dominion Bank of Toronto, Canada, a top 10 financial services company in North America. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges under the ticker symbol “TD”. To learn more, visit www.td.com.

SOURCE:

http://www.td.com

 

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Consumers Corporate Financial News Personal Finance Products and Services Spending Stocks

Strong New-Vehicle Sales in February Drives Robust Selling Rate

J.D. Power and LMC Automotive Report: Strong New-Vehicle Sales in February Drives Robust Selling Rate

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., Feb. 22, 2013, The new-vehicle retail selling rate in February remains above 12 million units—stronger than it was a year ago—as the auto industry recovery continues, according to a monthly sales forecast developed by J.D. Power and Associates’ Power Information Network® (PIN) and LMC Automotive.

Retail Light-Vehicle Sales
February new-vehicle retail sales are expected to come in at 931,100 vehicles, which represents a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of 12.1 million units, a decline from the robust 13.1 million SAAR in January, but stronger than the 11.7 million SAAR in February 2012. Retail transactions are the most accurate measurement of true underlying consumer demand for new vehicles.

“All signs of the industry’s health are positive right now,” said John Humphrey , senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “Average transaction prices are up, incentives are stable, leasing is at a healthy level and newly redesigned models continue to make an impact on the marketplace.”

“Demand is increasing, but the automakers deserve credit for doing a much better job of keeping alignment of production and demand.” said Humphrey. “This has led to new-vehicle transaction prices that are averaging nearly $1,000 more in February than the same period in 2012 while incentives have remained relatively flat year over year.”

Total Light-Vehicle Sales
Total light-vehicle sales in February 2013 are projected to reach 1,176,200 units, a seven percent increase from February 2012 and the fourth consecutive month with the selling rate at or above 15.2 million units. Fleet share is expected to remain at the January level of 21 percent.

J.D. Power and LMC Automotive U.S. Sales and SAAR Comparisons

February 20131

January 2013

February 2012

New-Vehicle Retail Sales

931,100 units2

(9% higher than February 2012)

822,018 units

887,924 units

Total Vehicle Sales

1,176,200 units

(7% higher than February 2012)

1,041,982 units

1,147,761 units

Retail SAAR

12.1 million units

13.1 million units

11.7 million units

Total SAAR

15.2 million units

15.2 million units

14.4 million units

1Figures cited for February 2013 are forecasted based on the first 14 selling days of the month.
2The percentage change is adjusted based on the number of selling days in the month (24 days in February 2013 vs. 25 days in February 2012).

Sales Outlook
The outlook for 2013 continues to improve, as the selling pace remains robust. In fact, LMC Automotive is increasing its 2013 U.S. forecast for total light-vehicle sales to 15.3 million units from 15.1 million units. The increase is split between fleet and retail light-vehicle sales, with the outlook for retail increasing to 12.5 million units from 12.4 million units.

“The current fundamentals that are driving strong vehicle sales—pent-up vehicle demand and a stable, recovering economy—are expected to get a boost by additional positive factors this year,” said Jeff Schuster , senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive. “An expected recovery in the housing market, and 50 percent more new-model launches combined with an increase in lease maturities should keep light-vehicle sales climbing throughout the year.”

North American Production
North American light-vehicle production in January 2013 finished at more than 1.3 million units, seven percent higher than in January 2012. Production in Mexico has increased by nearly 21 percent from January 2012 on higher General Motors, Ford, and Volkswagen volumes related to newer launches. U.S. vehicle production has grown by nine percent from January 2012, while Canadian production has declined by 13 percent during the same period.

Vehicle inventory levels in early February increase to a 74-day supply, compared with 59 days in January. A higher level is typical in February. However, at the current selling rate, inventory levels are expected to rebalance within the next month or two. Overall, there are nearly 3.1 million units currently available on dealer lots or in transit—an increase of approximately 600,000 units from February 2012.

LMC Automotive’s forecast for North American production remains at 15.9 million units for this year, a three percent increase from 2012.

“The current inventory situation and production plan for 2013 suggests that there is enough volume to support the expected increased level of demand, and there remains little risk for an overbuild environment,” said Schuster.

About J.D. Power and Associates
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company providing forecasting, performance improvement, social media and customer satisfaction insights and solutions. The company’s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies
The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP), a financial intelligence and education company, signed an agreement to sell its McGraw-Hill Education business to investment funds affiliated with Apollo Global Management, LLC in November 2012. Following the sale closing, expected in early 2013, the Company will be renamed McGraw Hill Financial (subject to shareholder approval) and will be a powerhouse in benchmarks, content and analytics for the global capital and commodity markets. The Company’s leading brands will include: Standard & Poor’s, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Platts, Crisil, J.D. Power and Associates, McGraw-Hill Construction and Aviation Week. The Company will have approximately 17,000 employees in more than 30 countries. Additional information is available at www.mcgraw-hill.com.

About LMC Automotive
LMC Automotive, formerly J.D. Power Automotive Forecasting, is the premier supplier of automotive forecasts and intelligence to an extensive client base of automotive manufacturer, component supplier, logistics and distribution companies, as well as financial and government institutions around the world. LMC’s global forecasting services encompass automotive sales, production and powertrain expertise, as well as advisory capability. LMC Automotive has offices in the United States, the UK, Germany, China and Thailand and is part of the Oxford, UK-based LMC group, the global leader in economic and business consultancy for the agribusiness sector. For more information please visit www.lmc-auto.com.

Media Relations Contacts
John Tews ; Troy, Mich.; (248) 680-6218; media.relations@jdpa.com
Emmie Littlejohn ; LMC Automotive; Troy, Mich.; (248) 817-2100; elittlejohn@lmc-auto.com

No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates or LMC Automotive. www.jdpower.com/corporate www.lmc-auto.com

SOURCE: J.D. Power and Associates

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Economics Information Investing Life Insurance Personal Finance Retirement Surveys

Affluent North American Investors Believe They Are Financially On Track

Manulife Financial, John Hancock Investor Sentiment Surveys: Affluent North American Investors Believe They Are Financially On Track

  • Affluent Canadian and American investors optimistic about the future
  • Seventy per cent of affluent North American investors on track to meet financial goals
  • US investor sentiment holds steady while Canadian sentiment rises
  • Canadians and Americans aligned in financial New Year’s resolutions and priorities

TORONTO, Jan. 21, 2013, Affluent North American investors are feeling very optimistic about their personal finances heading into 2013. Seventy per cent of affluent investors in both Canada and the United States agree that they are either ahead of plan, or on track, to meet their personal financial goals and about 50 per cent anticipate that their financial position will improve over the next two years.

Six out of ten affluent Canadian and American investors say that they are on track to meet their current financial goals while roughly 10 per cent say that they are ahead of plan on their goals. Just one in five investors surveyed in both countries indicate that they are behind on their financial goals but they are likely to catch up.

“It’s positive to see that, despite ongoing news about the fiscal cliff, global debt and U.S. debt ceiling, economic uncertainty and other challenges, our surveys indicate that affluent North American investors are feeling very confident about their financial future,” said Paul Lorentz , Executive Vice-President, Investment and Insurance Solutions for Manulife Financial.

The findings are derived from a comparison of the results of the latest Manulife Financial and John Hancock Investor Sentiment Index surveys. The surveys – conducted in Canada and the U.S in December 2012 – measure affluent investors’ feelings about whether or not this is a good time to invest in a variety of savings and investment vehicles and the likelihood of purchasing specific financial products and services.

Investor sentiment differs in North America
In Canada, overall affluent investor sentiment index strengthened in the second half of the year, rising to +31, from +26 in January 2012. In the U.S., investors’ confidence held steady in the fourth quarter of 2012, with the John Hancock Investor Sentiment Index® ticking upward slightly to +18 from a score of +17 in the third quarter of last year.

New Year’s resolutions, financial priorities aligned
Other findings from the surveys show that Canadians and Americans are aligned in their financial New Year’s resolutions and how they plan to achieve their top financial goals.

  • In Canada (31 per cent) and the United States (29 per cent), the top financial-planning related New Year’s Resolution is to trim household budgets.
  • Rebalancing portfolios is the second top resolution for 19 per cent of Canadians and also for 19 per cent of Americans.

Top financial priorities for 2013 among affluent Canadians and Americans differ slightly.

  • Canadians’ top three priorities are to manage/maintain current lifestyle (32 per cent), pay down debt (18 per cent) and save for retirement (15 per cent).
  • American respondents say their top financial priorities are the same: however, they differ in order with maintain/manage their current lifestyle (35 per cent) topping the list followed by, saving for retirement (29 per cent) and paying down debt (11 per cent).

Similar steps to achieving financial goals
When asked what steps, if any, affluent investors are taking to achieve their financial goals, Canadians and Americans identified the same top four steps. However, these steps varied in terms of priority.

Percentage of Affluent investors that indicated what steps they have taken to achieve their financial goals:

Step taken

Affluent Canadians

Affluent Americans

Talked to a   financial
professional for advice

45%

40%

Saved a certain   amount on
a regular basis

41%

59%

Reduced spending

40%

45%

Calculated how much
money needed to achieve
goal

27%

41%

Seven in ten affluent Canadians work with a financial advisor to achieve their financial goals while in the U.S., five in ten affluent investors choose to seek professional financial advice. However, affluent investors in both countries indicated that they work with advisors for a similar reason. Seeking advice on how to get better returns is the main reason for Canadians (24 per cent) and Americans (56 per cent) to work with a professional financial advisor.

“We encourage people to work closely with an advisor and stick to a financial plan,” Mr. Lorentz added. “People with integrated financial plans, working with strong, reliable and trustworthy companies, generally feel better prepared for the future, are more confident about reaching their goals and are better equipped deal with the ups and downs in the economy.”

In both countries, those who do not work with a financial advisor say it is because they feel knowledgeable enough to manage their investments on their own (Canada, 26 per cent, U.S., 43 per cent).

About the Investor Sentiment Index Surveys
Both Investor Sentiment Index surveys are conducted in a similar fashion. The survey measures affluent investors’ feelings about the current economic climate and their evaluations of what represents a good or bad investment given the current environment. The poll also asks consumers about their confidence in reaching key financial goals and the likelihood of purchasing financial products and services.

An online survey of 1,127 investors was conducted in the U.S. between November 26th to December 7th. In Canada, a sample of 1,003 investors were surveyed between November 30th to December 8th. Both surveys included household decision-makers at least 25 years of age, with a household income of $75,000 or greater and investable assets of $100,000 or more.

The Canadian research was conducted by Research House, an Environics Company. The U.S. survey was conducted by independent research firm Mathew Greenwald & Associates.

In a similarly-sized random sample survey, the margin of error would be plus or minus +/- 3.10 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

About Manulife Financial
Manulife Financial is a leading Canada-based financial services group with principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States. Clients look to Manulife for strong, reliable, trustworthy and forward-thinking solutions for their most significant financial decisions.

Our international network of employees, agents and distribution partners offers financial protection and wealth management products and services to millions of clients. We also provide asset management services to institutional customers. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were C$515 billion (US$523 billion) as at September 30, 2012. The Company operates as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia and primarily as John Hancock in the United States.

Manulife Financial Corporation trades as ‘MFC’ on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under ‘945’ on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at manulife.com.

About John Hancock
John Hancock Financial is a division of Manulife Financial, a leading Canada-based financial services group with principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States. Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States, the Company offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners.

The John Hancock unit, through its insurance companies, comprises one of the largest life insurers in the United States. John Hancock offers a broad range of financial products and services, including life insurance, annuities, fixed products, mutual funds, 401(k) plans, long-term care insurance, college savings, and other forms of business insurance. Additional information about John Hancock may be found at johnhancock.com.

SOURCE: Manulife Financial Corporation

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Consumers Personal Finance Products and Services Shopping

When to Buy Appliances: January, Fall Best Times to Shop

When to Buy Appliances: January, Fall Best Times to Shop

Many major retailers are advertising appliance sales right now. While most people wait until an appliance breaks to replace it, those who buy now or later this fall will get the best deal.

CHICAGO, Jan. 21, 2013,  Shopping for a major appliance in January can mean substantial savings, according to Viewpoints (www.viewpoints.com), a leading consumer reviews and product ratings website. That’s because stores are trying to clear inventory from the past year.

January appliance sales

“January is a notoriously slow month for retailers across the board, and the need to push sales this month, combined with the quickly diminishing value of anything left over, prompts retailers to hold sales and also be willing to bargain to close a sale,” says Matt Ong , retail analyst at NerdWallet.

Appliance deals again in the fall

But waiting until September through November can result in even more savings. That’s when new models come out, so stores slash prices on older versions to clear space in the showroom.

Andrew Schrage , co-owner of the website, Money Crashers, notes exceptions. Air conditioners and refrigerators should be purchased in winter and spring, respectively. And there are other strategies. “For instance, if you shop earlier in the week when stores have fewer shoppers, you can receive better service. You certainly don’t want to invest a lot of money in a new appliance without making an informed decision.”

Expect to negotiate

Another factor in getting a great price is being willing to haggle, says Schrage. For the best deal, he recommends Sears, Home Depot, Lowe’s, h.h. gregg, BrandsMart and Best Buy. Schrage also suggests signing up for email updates from websites like FatWallet, which posts appliance deals from both online and brick-and-mortar stores.

Many consumers favor new models, but Schrage advises, “Unless there’s a new feature that is simply a must-have, consumers do not miss out on much by purchasing older models on sale.”

Read reviews

Shoppers also should read product reviews before purchase. “It’s only a bargain if you get what you pay for. Viewpoints provides authentic feedback from consumers on how you can expect the appliance to work in real-life situations,” says Viewpoints Founder and CEO Matt Moog.

Viewpoints (http://www.viewpoints.com) features 480,000+ consumer reviews covering 34,000+ products, including appliances, consumer electronics, mattresses, health and beauty items and insurance. Both reviews and ratings are available free of charge and without registration.

Contact: Carol Fowler 312-656-9727

SOURCE: Viewpoints

RELATED LINKS: http://www.viewpoints.com

 

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Banking Financial News Government Information Taxes

Startups Advise Obama: Focus on Taxes and Talent as Second Term Begins

Startups Advise Obama: Focus on Taxes and Talent as Second Term Begins

CEOs and Executives from Startup Companies Nationwide Offered Advice to Support the Innovation Economy in Silicon Valley Bank’s Annual Startup Outlook Survey

SANTA CLARA, CA, Jan. 18, 2013, With the second inauguration of President Obama pending, Silicon Valley Bank, financial partner to innovation companies worldwide, asked startup companies across America: “What piece of advice would you give to President Obama with regards to supporting the innovation economy?” Simplifying taxes and focusing on building a strong talent pool made up nearly half of all responses, which came from 600 comments by CEOs and executives of startup companies across the US. The question was part of Silicon Valley Bank’s fourth annual survey of startup companies nationwide.

See infographic.

“Startup companies are looking for simplicity and relevant talent above all,” said Greg Becker , CEO of Silicon Valley Bank. “They said things like, ‘cut the red tape,’ ‘simplify the tax code’ and ‘improve US science and math education to best-in-world outcomes.'”

“Our clients – high growth innovation companies – create jobs and outperform the broader economy. We should be doing everything we can as a country to make it easy for them to grow.”

High growth small companies, while small in number, have an outsized impact on the U.S. economy. They consume roughly 0.1-0.2% of U.S. GDP in invested capital, but turn into companies that create roughly 11 percent of U.S. private sector employment and 21 percent of U.S. GDP – or roughly twelve million jobs and over $3 trillion in annual revenues.

The most common advice, offered by nearly one-third of startup managers who participated in the survey, was in regard to taxes. Nearly 20 percent of the respondents believed the government should focus on developing a deep talent pool through a combination of approaches including immigration reform and better science and math education. A running theme in the comments was also the desire for government to work together on a bi-partisan basis.

Advice for the president fell into a few major categories:

  • Overhaul Tax System – 28% “Keep it simple” “Focus on ways to stimulate growth”
  • Build Talent Pool – 18% “Make it easy to hire the best & brightest from around the world”
  • Ease Regulation – 12% “US is the hardest country in the world to do business”
  • Promote Investment – 11% “Make investment in growth companies easier”
  • Champion Innovation – 10% “Make it very, very simple and cheap for the little guy to win!”
  • Give Us Space – 9% “Minimize Federal government involvement” “Leave us alone”
  • Other – 13% “Be more bi-partisan – both the President and Congress”

Silicon Valley Bank conducted its annual Startup Outlook survey in December 2012. More than 750 executives of startup companies, defined as those in the innovation sector with less than $100 million in annual revenue, responded. The company will be releasing additional data and reports based on the survey in the coming months. View all news related to the results of the Startup Outlook survey at http://www.svb.com/startup-outlook-report/ and follow the conversation on Twitter at @SVB_Financial #StartupOutlook.

About Silicon Valley Bank
Silicon Valley Bank is the premier bank for technology, life science, cleantech, venture capital, private equity and premium wine businesses. SVB provides industry knowledge and connections, financing, treasury management, corporate investment and international banking services to its clients worldwide through 27 U.S. offices and six international operations. (Nasdaq: SIVB) www.svb.com.

Silicon Valley Bank is the California bank subsidiary and the commercial banking operation of SVB Financial Group. Banking services are provided by Silicon Valley Bank, a member of the FDIC and the Federal Reserve System. SVB Financial Group is also a member of the Federal Reserve System.

SOURCE: Silicon Valley Bank

RELATED LINKS: http://www.svb.com