Jan 262011

Are US Banks Trustworthy? What sources of information to we use to determine how much we trust our Banks?

Edelman, leading independent global PR firm, just released its annual Edelman Trust Barometer.  The 11th Annual Study surveys 5,000+ people in the 25 – 64 age group, all whom are college educated and in the top quartile of household income.  In other words, a pretty good description of a dream customer for most Banks and Credit Unions.

Finding #1 – Financial services worldwide scored at the bottom of the list for consumer trust, with only 50% of respondents agreeing that  Banks / Financial Services firms will do what is right. 


Finding #2 – However, US Banks saw their Trust scores plummet by nearly 2/3, with just 25% agreeing that US Banks will do what is right.



Finding #3 – nearly 50% use the web (search engine and online news sources) as their primary source for news on companies.  40% use the web as their secondary source of information.  5% identified social media as their primary source and 7% as their secondary source for information on a company.


Unfortunately, most Banks still rely to a very large extent on print and direct mail, missing terrific opportunities to connect with their customers online and through social media.

Finding #4 – it only requires something to be said 3 – 5 times for nearly 60% of the people to believe it (regardless of its accuracy). 


Finding #5– When a company is distrusted (eg. US Banks), 1 – 2 references will convince nearly 60% of negative information but only 15% will believe positive information.


US Banks find themselves in a significant Trust gap (rightly or not) and climbing out of the “hole” will not be easy.  Active listening is necessary to know what is being said about your Bank’s brand so that positive feedback can be re-inforced, and negative statements can be defused.

Serge Milman

Serge Milman is the Principal Partner of San Francisco, CA based SFO Consultants which provides Strategy, Finance and Operations Management Consulting services. He is also the Principal of Optirate – a blog dedicated to growth and profitability strategies for Banks and Credit Unions. Serge can be reached at info@SFOconsultants.com.

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