UK banking brands face trust deficit

08 June 2012

LONDON: Banking brands are struggling to regain the favour of UK consumers, over 60% of which believe they "cannot trust" any provider in the sector.

SixthSense, a unit of the research group YouGov, surveyed 2,060 adults, and discovered just 53% would be "willing to trust" banks or building societies now or in the future.

By contrast, 63% of contributors reported that they "cannot trust any bank", a figure reaching 57% for building societies, indicating a holdover of negative sentiment from the economic downturn.

Major high-street banks, of which LloydsTSB, Abbey National, Barclays and HSBC are leading examples, posted a trust rating of 28%.

Smaller competitors to these established operators, however, found the going here even more difficult, registering 22% on the same metric.

More broadly, 62% of the sample strongly agreed that banks treating their customers "fairly and transparently" would be able to build better relationships than at present.

Knowing these firms will not go out of business logged 56% here, ahead of delivering customer service of a consistently high-quality, on 53%.

Elsewhere, only 11% of shoppers thought banking brands performing well on price comparison websites may yield similar benefits in terms of perception and engagement levels.

When discussing communications, 68% of those polled stated that positive comments from friends, acquaintances and work colleagues would enhance their view of a financial services provider.

Participants were also asked which types of communications they felt could effectively inspire confidence in a brand if they were looking for information on a company offering financial services.

Online price comparison platforms secured a modest 17% here, beating a brand's own website on 12% and internet advertising with 2%.

"The importance of company motivation and a consumer's belief that the company has longevity, and by implication is reliable, is clearly demonstrated here," James McCoy, SixthSense's research director, said.

Data sourced from YouGov; additional content by Warc staff