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Trust me, I’m a Banker

I said I’d been thinking about trust, and this is down to a couple of marketing surveys on the subject.

First, there’s the Global Trustometer from Edelman. I’ve been a follower of this for years. You can see summary results at Edelman’s website.

For quite a few years, even during the good times, Edelman found that bank and finance brands are trust challenged. Equally, they find very different attitudes between Asian, European and American brand views.

For example, I remember a few years ago that European consumers voted the World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace and Oxfam as their most trusted brand names whilst Americans had Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft and Ford as their top names.

I’m sure the US view may have changed a bit after Vista and the auto bailout, but Europeans are still tree-huggers and fluffy-bunny lovers.

Anyways, the 2009 Edelman survey, its tenth, is based upon a thirty minute telephone survey with 4,475 people in 20 countries between November 5th and December 14th 2008.

These interviews comprised 1,075 people aged 25 to 34, and 3,400 people aged between 35 and 64.

Globally, 62% of people trust companies less now than they did a year ago, with this drop the most marked in the USA, falling from 58% of American consumers trusting business to do what is right in 2008 to only 38% in 2009.

Funnily enough, trust in government to do what is right stayed pretty much on track globally.

Although the Swedish, Americans, Mexicans and Indians trusted their governments less, these were offset by the Brits, Germans, Dutch, Polish, Brazilians and Canadians who all trust their governments more.

Companies headquartered in Sweden, Germany and Canada are trusted more than any other, whilst Chinese and Russian firms are trusted the least.

Now to the crunch (not the credit crunch!).

Trust in banking.

Unsurprisingly, it’s down.

It’s down more than any other industry.

It’s down 11% globally, from 56% to 45%, only just above Media and Insurance.

Ah well, at least banks are more trusted than sponsored links and payout avoiders (not my view but the masses maybe?).

In America, trust in banks dropped a massive 33% from 69% to 36% of consumers believe that banks can be trusted to do what is right. In the UK, France and Germany, bank trust dipped from 41% to 27%, again the biggest drop ever.

What may be surprising is that trust in the banking sector in emerging economies was up from 72% to 84% in China and from 52% to 59% in Brazil.

Trust in articles in business papers, along with analyst's stock reports, have been blown off their most trusted mantle, whilst blogs appear on the trust scale for the first time this year.

Now, that’s good news isn’t it?

Similarly, the only person to gain more trust this year is an academic or expert on an industry.

Also good news for some.

There’s a load more in the Edelman survey so I commend you to download and read it.

Meanwhile, for the UK folks, there’s also the Trustometer from Marketing Week.

Now in its ninth year, Marketing Week with Reader’s Digest produces a view on whose brands are most trusted in the UK.

Reader's Digest (RD) claim to represent Middle England with 650,000 readers spread over a wide variety of the population:

                         Men     Women    Chief Income    Main Shopper     Working 
GB Population        49%        51%            58%                  66%                55%
Reader’s Digest      47%        53%            62%                  71%                51%

                         ABC1     <35     35-54     55+     Presence of 
                                                                    School Age Children
GB Population       51%      34%     35%     32%         24%
Reader’s Digest     60%      17%     37%     46%         23%

So the results are interesting.

According to the survey, the most trusted brands in Britain for financial services are:

Bank/BuildingSociety       Lloyds TSB
Credit Card                      Barclaycard
Insurance Company         Direct Line
Mortgage Lender             Nationwide Building Society

Noteworthy above is that Halifax had won the mortgage lender category since the survey launched nine years ago, but not this year as they are eclipsed by the Nationwide Building Society.

That's interesting as Lloyds TSB, the most trusted bank/building society, just took over Halifax.

Ah well, I guess Lloyds still did well, as it won the most trusted bank and, in a year that we've seen over here, that's some going.  Mind you, Lloyds has apparently dominated this space since the survey began, which makes me question the RD readership figures.

For example, Lloyds most loyal customer base are seniors who also happen to be the typical readers of RD.  The median age of an American RD reader is 52 and I reckon that's who voted in this survey.  Not Americans, but readers with an average of around 52 years old.

Anyway, it still makes interesting reading as you may think that only a few people could name a trust bank brand after the events of last year, and yet 89% of respondents named one.

Marketing Week comments: “perhaps this demonstrates the distinction between how people perceive the dismal economic outlook overall, against their ongoing personal experience of banks as day-to-day service providers of financial services, with whom many have had long-term relationships.”


Meanwhile, the fact that Barclaycard wins in the credit card sector may reflect its independence.

The magazine notes that the Barclaycard won the top spot for the second year running, sitting comfortably ahead of Capital One, which is in fourth position, and Visa and MasterCard, who are second and third, even though you can’t have a Barclaycard without one of those brands on it!

Maybe they won because of their great ad for contactless cards, which has also been a viral hit.

The other interesting point is that Norwich Union has been knocked off top spot for the first time since 2004 by Direct Line in the insurance category.

Could this be the result of a strange name change?

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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