London-based consultant Brand Finance conducted a research on bank brands in 22 markets to understand how customers’ opinions have changed in an era of major disruption to the industry.
The research found that the Australian banking sector has achieved an overall trust score of 52.8 per cent. This is compared to a strong 77.0 per cent overall score in China and 64.9 per cent in the US.
The banking industry in Australia has recently faced pressure from the government with the introduction of new regulatory measures, such as issuing an $6.2 billion levy, holding bank executives to heightened standards of behaviour, and requiring senior executives to defer a proportion of their pay.
“Australian banks are recognising the need to change perceptions of the industry among different stakeholders,” Brand Finance Australia managing director Mark Crowe said. “They are not only ready to work with the government but, in an attempt to mitigate the effects of a bruised reputation, are also reaching out to customers, as the nation’s four largest banks have now lifted the cash withdrawal charge.”
Non-major lender ING stands out from among its peers, coming out on top as the nation’s most trusted bank with a score of 71.0 per cent among the overall population and an even more impressive 79.6 per cent among its customers.
According to the Brand Finance research, customers identifying ING as their main bank increased by 60 per cent to more than 200,000 in 2016.
Meanwhile, Bendigo Bank is the second most trusted Australian bank with a score of 67.5 per cent. The bank reported an AU$209 million post-tax profit for the second half of 2016, pointing to lending across retail and partner channels as key growth areas.