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Reasons to switch: empowered vs less powerful bank customers

Jeanette Carlsson Hauff (Department of Marketing, Gothenburg School of Business, Economics and Law, Gothenburg, Sweden)

International Journal of Bank Marketing

ISSN: 0265-2323

Article publication date: 3 May 2019

Issue publication date: 15 August 2019



The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the existing literature of driving and impeding switching factors by operationalizing the catalyst factor of perceived power among customers. Acknowledging the importance of trust in a financial context, a trust-based framework for the analysis is used. The study explicitly analyzes factors of importance for subsequent switching of banks for empowered customers (i.e. savers) and low-on-power customers (i.e. borrowers).


The study measures factors driving or impeding switch of service provider, together with measures of trust and power using online survey methods. The sample is intended to focus on savers and borrowers, defined quantitatively as well as perception wise. Through a multi-group SEM analysis, differences between the samples of savers and borrowers are analyzed. The dependent variable was in both cases inclination to switch.


The paper manages to define differences between empowered and less empowered customers, such as borrowers and savers. The mediating effect of trust prevails only for borrowers: here, the only effect on switching behavior stems from a full mediation of stability through trust. For savers, direct influences of both service failure and lack of involvement on trust are of major importance. The importance of trust, however, is lacking; for the sample of savers, the link between trust and switching behavior is insignificant.

Practical implications

The results may be used as a tool box in order to address consumer switching behavior and mobility in the financial services market. The biggest obstacle for switching banks among savers is the low level of involvement. This has clear implications regarding how to increase switching, e.g., by raising interest. Focusing instead on borrowers, stability of the chosen financial institution turned out to be the most important factor.


This paper introduces a view on consumer switching behavior, taking into account differences regarding service provider relations (empowered savers vs less empowered borrowers) and the importance of trust in these two settings. The paper introduces trust as a mediator between switching behavior and four determinants: stability, personal relations, service failure and internet-related issues, and involvement.



Hauff, J.C. (2019), "Reasons to switch: empowered vs less powerful bank customers", International Journal of Bank Marketing, Vol. 37 No. 6, pp. 1441-1461.



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