Campaign Aims to Improve Public View of Banking

By Cleland, George | ABA Banking Journal, April 1992 | Go to article overview

Campaign Aims to Improve Public View of Banking


Cleland, George, ABA Banking Journal


ABA has made banking soundness and public confidence a top government relations priority.

ABA President Alan Tubbs reported the results of association-sponsored consumer-attitude research at the recent Banking Leadership Conference. Tubbs said the research was done in advance of a major ABA campaign, kicking off this month, to help banks improve customer relations and community ties.

The research, gathered from 18 consumer focus groups held around the country in 1991 and a Gallup telephone survey completed in January, confirm that public perception of the banking industry is low.

Fuzzy views. Depositors have lost faith in FDIC's ability to protect them, and in the integrity of banks and bankers, Tubbs reported. They continue to confuse banks with S&Ls and assume that the taxpayer is bailing out both industries. The focus groups also showed that consumers have little sympathy for banks' problems, and feel that banks should be even more closely regulated.

By contrast, Tubbs continued, credit unions are regarded as safe, trustworthy, and committed to serving customers. Not surprisingly, consumers feel that credit card rates and some bank fees are too high, while deposit rates are too low.

The basic finding of the study, however, was that consumers who felt good about banking usually had a close personal relationship with someone at their bank. …

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