Last week, when delivering his announcements of Royal Bank of Scotland’s continuing losses (£42 billion worth since 2008 and £8.2 billion last year alone), Ross McEwan said that the bank is “the least trusted company in the least trusted sector”.
First, RBS is not greatly trusted but some of their brands are.
According to a survey performed by Harris Interactive in August 2013, NatWest is slightly more trusted than Barclays, Santander, Lloyds (HBOS) and HSBC, resulting in their branches proudly displaying the sign: “thank you for voting us Britain’s most trusted mainstream bank” (although this was based upon their award by MoneyWise) .
The survey asked several thousand consumers: “for each of the following companies, to what extent do you agree or disagree that your relationship is based on trust?” and covered various industry sectors.
Here’s the scores for the banking industry:
Compare this with the mobile network providers:
Or energy companies:
And you can see that banks are not in the least trusted industry, but are more trusted than some other mainstream service providers.
Equally, within the sector, the Co-operative Group (who own Smile, the internet only bank) are more trusted than First Direct and Nationwide (this was before the Crystal Methodist Minister Paul Flowers affair however).
The Co-operative Group's trust:
Nationwide Building Society:
Here’s RBS though:
So yes, RBS does appear to be the least trusted business in a reasonably well trusted industry.