Banking Reputation Still Needs Improving

29 Apr 2019

Banking Reputation: the sum is worth less than its parts

Only 44% of consumers look on the banking industry favourably, but 79% are satisfied with their own bank

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).

Banking Reputation: three opinions among consumers

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.

Banking Reputation: Consumers don’t feel that emotional connection

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. The problems faced by the industry can be judges by the fact that  while 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

Banking Reputation: Consumers Favour Action at the top

Examples of other key findings to come from this research, based on interviews with 1031 nationally representative consumers are:

  • 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.
  • 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

This report provides key reputational and trust metrics regarding the banking industry and the banks used by individuals. This report enables providers to gauge the success of their own and others’ engagement strategies, and the extent to which brands have been successful or otherwise in dealing with and recovering from high-profile banking crises which have impacted on the industry and specific brands.

This report (68pp) and the detailed dataset of all survey results with a demographic analysis is available directly from IRN Research, priced at £2,500 (£3,000 including VAT) each.  Discounts for multiple report purchases, report only, dataset only, or purchases of extracts.


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IRN Team

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