Britain Thinks: What does the financial crisis mean for the reputation of banks?

Deborah Mattinson

At first glance, the generic reputation of banks has slumped since the extraordinary events that began in 2007; 70% of us blame the financial crisis on 'corporate greed' and 73% believe that 'banks are driven by greed'.

Even more (80%) agree that there is a 'widespread problem of ethics in the banking industry' and 82% lament that banks have 'failed to change their behaviour since the crisis'. Only 7% believe banks have 'learnt the lessons of the crisis'.

Polling figures like these led to BritainThinks working for a high street bank, which was anxious to understand the impact of the financial crisis on their reputation. We set up qualitative discussion groups and the clients gathered anxiously behind the mirror to watch. The findings were unexpected. It seemed that, however hard we probed, it wasn't issues around the broader banking industry that really got these people fired up. While bonuses and city greed were a problem, these customers really wanted to discuss banking problems from the perspective of their own relationship with their bank.