ANN ARBOR, Mich. (2/19/09)--Credit unions have outshone banks in yet another customer satisfaction survey, this one for fourth quarter 2008 when the full effects of the financial industry's credit crisis began hitting consumers. According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), customer satisfaction with overall finance and insurance sector services was up 0.7% to 76 on a 100-point scale during the fourth quarter. But not so for banks. Banks retreated from the previous year's results, dropping 4% to a score of 75. The study attributed customers' dissatisfaction to banks that "cut costs across services in order to offset large financial losses from the subprime mortgage crisis." Wachovia, included for the last time before becoming a part of Wells Fargo, saw satisfaction drop 4% to 76. Still, it led the banking scores. Wells Fargo climbed 4% to 72, leaving Citigroup, with a score of 69, at the bottom of the banking category. Credit unions debuted in the ACSI with a score of 84--much higher than banks, said ACSI. "Credit unions are typically smaller than most banks, and their higher customer satisfaction follows a pattern in many industries where smaller companies tend to offer a better and more individualized service," the index said in a press release. ACSI noted that as the current recession has deepened, consumer behavior has changed much more than in earlier economic slowdowns. Consumer spending has continued to weaken while savings have risen, suggested The index, produced by the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business in partnership with the American Society for Quality and CFI Group, is a national economic indicator of customer evaluations of the quality of products and services available to household consumers in the U.S. It is updated each quarter.