The banking industry still suffers from reputational damage as a legacy of past (and some on-going) scandals. Consumers generally have less positive view of the industry than they have of individual bank brands and the individual banks they use. In the banking industry, the whole (the industry’s reputation) is worth less than the sum of its parts (the reputation of individual bank brands). In terms of their view of the banking industry, consumers split into three group
• Promoters: they have a positive attitude towards banks. They trust them, have a favourable view of them and think they act in their customer’s and society’s best interests.
• Detractors: they are the exact opposite of the Promoters. They have a negative attitude towards the banking industry (although around one-third trust the banks they personally use). They do not trust the banking industry, have a negative view of the industry and think the industry does not act in their customer’s nor society’s best interests.
• Ambivalent: They hold mixed views towards the banking industry. They respect banks, more than they like them or see them as working in their own or society’s best interests.
Similarly, in terms of their attitudes to the banks they use, consumers can be divided into three camps:
• Strongly Pro-Brand – consumers who associate positive words and phrases with their main bank and who would strongly recommend their bank to friends and relatives.
• Pro-Brand – like the above but less positive towards the brands they use but still overall having good feelings towards their main bank.
• Anti-Brand – consumers who associate more negative words and phrases with their main bank and who would not make a recommendation to friends and family.
Most consumer are Ambivalent about the Industry and Pro-Brand in attitude.
Consumer positive views of either the industry or individual banks are based on an unemotional assessment of the banking services provided, principally an assessment of the current account and/or online banking system. Consumers do not have warm and cosy feeling towards individual banks or the industry, they remain somewhat detached from both, even those consumers who tend to look favourably on the industry or individual bank. Consumers respect banks and industry more than they like either.
Examples of other key findings to come from this research, based on interviews with 1031 nationally representative consumers are:
• 77% of consumers think banks are economically essential and 55% think the industry offers high quality products and services.
• Only 28% of consumers think the industry has high ethical standards and only 35% think it cares what people like them think of it.
• 46% of consumers feel that high pay and bonuses to bank staff have worsened their view of the banking industry
• 46% of consumers feel mis-selling of financial products has worsened their view of the banking industry
• 70% of consumers trust staff working in bank branches, while only 31% trust senior management and 19% investment bankers
• 56% of consumers feel that senior management should face criminal charges in serious wrong doing cases and 52% feel they should lose their jobs/positions without financial compensation.