Sunday 11 December 2016

Trust me, I’m a banker

Despite Aussie banks going counter-cyclical to the RBA with recent interest rate rises and now record profits, Australia’s banks are now far more trusted than their counterparts in Europe, the UK or the US, as Edelman’s 2012 Trust Barometer has revealed.

Since 2009, trust in Australian banks by informed publics (those with tertiary education and in the upper income level) has risen by 21% since 2009 and by 17% since 2011. In the UK, trust in the banking industry sits at 27%, down from 46% in 2009 while in Germany it’s 19%, France 23% and Spain 17%.

In Asia banks enjoy a healthy level of trust: 78% of Chinese, 86% of Indonesians and 90% of Indians have faith in the industry.

But there’s a flip side to all this heart-warming news for bankers in Australia. While banks are trusted, they still remain at the bottom of the pile as being the least trusted out of a range of eleven major industry sectors that include food and beverage, technology, media and automotive sectors.

So there’s work to be done. And as Australians continue to face up to the pressure of global uncertainty and an economy with a patchy path forward, banks that reflect an understanding of their customers’ positions and difficulties may do better. And how they handle bad news in the current environment of reduced financial sector jobs is a key challenge.

Treating both customers and their people with sensitivity (and communicating the good and the bad news) might show bankers have a real heart beating under that finely-tailored pin-stripe suit.

Nic Jarvis, Director Corporate