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Who do you trust?

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There are perennial questions that come around all the time:

  • Do banks need branches
  • Why are banks so bad at stopping bad actors (AML and KYC)
  • Will we end up cashless
  • Can banking be run by machines
  • Are banks needed (disintermediation)
  • Can regulators keep up
  • Can we create a system that has no government involved (the libertarian dream)
  • Where is the trust

The list goes on, and I could add to this extensively, but the answers are always the same. We need a system of trust. That’s the most critical point. But then the trust is in the system that you believe in. That’s the other critical point.

What do you believe in?

Do you believe in your leaders, your government, your councillors, your authorities; or do you believe more in your family, your friends, your community and those around you?

I’m guessing most of us would say both, but when governments fail our trust, do you still believe in them? And could we create a community of trust where value could be exchanged outside the system?

I’ve been asking these questions often lately because they intrigue me, but the reason for blogging  about this today is that I was thinking about the crisis of trust.

We don’t trust our leaders, we don’t trust our authorities, we don’t trust our governments, we don’t trust our businesses, we don’t trust our currencies … we no longer trust anything.

Is this the end of trust?

The thing I follow every year is Edelman’s Trust Index and it says no, we do trust. In its 24th year covering 28 countries with over 32,000 participants, Edelman’s main conclusions in 2023 are that:

We are losing faith in governments.

We are losing faith in companies.

We are losing faith in leaders.

You can read the full report here.

Does this mean that we trust the people, the network, the citizens more instead? Not really. If we did, we would allow anarchy to rule and the only anarchy that I believe in are the sons of anarchy.

So, what’s the truth?

Well, unlike Edelman, Ipsos – another research monitor – finds that we do trust the leaders and authorities as much as ever before. What did they find? In their Global Trustworthiness Monitor, Ipsos concluded that there was no evidence to suggest that trust was in “crisis”. While trust may have been low for many organisations, sectors, or professions, there was little evidence that this had changed much in recent years. Trust may well need to be rebuilt, but there has been no new crisis to address.

They also pointed to the fact that trust is a complex concept with many, varied, statistically significant drivers. These include everything from core competence and product quality to acting responsibly and a sense of whether an organisation will take advantage of you or not.

Their conclusion?

The focus should not be on whether consumers trust you (which you cannot control); it should be on what steps you have taken to be trustworthy (which you can control).


Who do you trust?

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, 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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