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Banks need to build trust

News, 27 September 2016

LONDON: Few people see much difference between traditional banks and an increasing number are attracted by the customer experience offered by non-bank providers, with trust an important factor – one which RBS is set to address head on in a new campaign.

According to a study from consulting firm EY – the 2016 Global Consumer Banking Survey, based on input from 55,000 consumers around the world – four out of ten consumers had used non-bank providers in the past 12 months while another two in ten intended to do so in the near future.

And four of the five top reasons respondents gave for considering using a non-bank provider related to customer experience factors.

In particular, banks with branches were lagging behind their new rivals in certain elements of trust, including the ability to give unbiased advice, transparency about fees and charges, and recommending products to suit the consumer's rather than the bank's financial needs.

The global financial crisis of 2008 did nothing to enhance bank reputations and one of the worst hit was RBS, into which the UK government poured billions to prevent its collapse.

David Wheldon, CMO at RBS, admitted that mistakes had been made in the past but claimed to have learned from them and said this was reflected in a new campaign for its NatWest brand.

"Over the last nine years, I cannot think of a single financial brand that has even nodded at the fact there were serious problems in the past," he told Marketing Week. "It annoys people," he added.

"We must acknowledge those mistakes and the 'we are what we do' slogan [for NatWest] really summarises that."

The long-term aim for NatWest is to become the top bank for customer service, trust and advocacy. "This isn't just an advertising campaign," said Wheldon. "It will be the pivotal moment in a cultural shift towards being a bank with laser-like focus on serving our customers well."

As well as repositioning the NatWest brand, RBS is being rebranded to Royal Bank in Scotland and the Ulster Bank is being revamped, as the constituent parts of the business are pushed to the fore in individual markets as the RBS global positioning is retired.

Data sourced from EY, Marketing Week, Campaign; additional content by Warc staff