Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Trust in Banking

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Trust in Banking

Article excerpt

AS U.S. BANK'S Richard Davis noted in an essay in the Wall Street Journal this summer, trust is at the heart of the relationship between banks and the communities they serve. That trust suffered a blow with the financial crisis, and recent surveys have shown that regaining that trust has been long, slow work.

Gallup's annual "confidence" poll released in June found that Americans' confidence in major institutions in general, and in banks specifically, remains near historic lows. Just 27 percent of Americans said they had "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in banks--but that's up six points from its nadir in 2012. Another poll--the 2016 Edelman Trust Index--shows that trust in the financial services industry globally, while still lower than other business sectors, is up 8 percentage points from 2012.

Perhaps the plodding progress on the road back to trust is to be expected, given that a sluggish economy--and election year rhetoric--has kept memories of the financial crisis alive. But as these and other surveys also reveal, we have an opportunity to move these stats faster and further in a positive direction.

The Edelman index, for example, shows that employees are among the most trusted sources of information about a company. That bodes well for individual banks, which can and should unleash their greatest asset to spread a positive story about their institution and all it does for the community. Other surveys have shown that customer satisfaction with their own banks has also improved over the past several years.

But just as constituents like their own member of Congress but not Congress as a whole, employee and customer feelings about their Individual banks doesn't necessarily translate to the Industry as a whole. That can be a problem--especially If our Industry's reputation inspires counterproductive banking policy. …

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