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Deloitte research paints dim picture of trust in banks

One in five Australians believe that banks do what is “good, right and fair”, according to new research from Deloitte.

According to Deloitte’s inaugural Australian Trust Index – Banking 2018, which involved a survey of over 2,000 bank customers, 20 per cent of respondents noted that they believe their banks are “ethical” — doing what is “good, right and fair”.  

The research also found that 21 per cent of respondents said that they believe banks have their “customers’ interests at heart”, with 26 per cent stating that they believe banks “will keep their promises”.

Author of the Deloitte Australian Trust Index William Punt said that the results reflected the impact of scrutiny of the banking sector from the financial services royal commission public sentiment.

“The banking sector has undergone a rigorous and exposing investigation through the Royal Commission into Misconduct in Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry,” Mr Punt said.

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“It highlights the depth of the crisis of trust in the sector in Australia.”

However, when asked to assess the trustworthiness of their personal bank, 36 per cent of respondents said that their bank has their “interest at heart”, with 49 per cent noting that they trust their bank to “keep its promises”.

“The index indicates the greatest driver of perceptions of trustworthiness among bank customers is a mindset of consistently keeping promises,” Mr Punt continued.

“Trust improves when it comes to my own bank as opposed to banks in general.”

Further, Deloitte reported that:

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  • 33 per cent of respondents said that they believe their bank admits to its mistakes
  • 55 per cent stated that they believe their bank “treats them with respect”
  • 56 per cent said that their bank “deals with their complaints and queries effectively”
  • 60 per cent said that they believe the people they deal with at their bank “know what they are talking about”

Moreover, Deloitte asked respondents for their view regarding regulatory oversight, with 32 per cent stating that they believe regulators are “doing a good job holding banks to account”.

Deloitte partner and innovation strategy lead Andy Bateman claimed that to rebuild trust, more emphasis needs to be placed on community engagement.

“The way forward to rebuild reputation and trust in today’s business world is far more about communities and relationships and far less about transactions,” Mr Bateman said.

“The companies that get this, at the deepest level, are exhibiting the kinds of behaviours that genuinely build trust.”

Mr Punt noted the impact that “trustworthiness” has in shaping customer choices and highlighted the importance of rebuilding trust ahead of the open banking regime.

“While there is no indication that consumers do not trust banks to keep their money safe, trustworthiness is expected to play a greater role in shaping consumer choices about where and with whom to bank,” Mr Bateman added.

“Being trusted becomes even more critical in an open banking environment where banks will have to contend with the possibility of losing customers to more trusted competitors, as the barriers to exit continue to fall and new entrants join the road to open banking.”

Mr Punt concluded: “The Deloitte Trust Index on banking gives a clear message as well as cause for optimism. It identifies where to focus and so where the practical ways to recapture trust lie.

“Banking customers want banks to demonstrate the right mindset by treating them with respect and integrity. This is most important. Only then will the right price, technology and product become significant.”

Deloitte’s research follows Roy Morgan’s Customer Satisfaction-Consumer Banking in Australia September Report, which found that customer satisfaction with Australia’s banks has dropped from 81.2 per cent in the six months prior to the financial services royal commission (January 2018) to 78.5 per cent in the six months to September 2018.

[Related: RC spurs fall in satisfaction with big four]

Deloitte research paints dim picture of trust in banks
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