Levels of trust in Australia’s major banks are in clear need of improvement, according to research commissioned by the Australian Bankers' Association (ABA).
The research, released this week, appears to confirm that recent controversies have taken their toll on consumer trust in the banks, with only 31 per cent of respondents having a positive view.
The ABA-commissioned research, conducted by Edelman Intelligence, prompted ABA chief executive, Anna Bligh to acknowledge a clear need for improvement but had her pointing to the fact that while respondents were sceptical of the industry as a whole, 53 per cent were positive about their own banking experience.
“This points to a real opportunity for banks to translate the experience customers have with their own bank into higher levels of trust in the sector as a whole,” she said.
Bligh said the research had also measured the community’s knowledge of current industry-led banking reforms and their views of the reforms and noted that while awareness was low, respondents had a clear view that the reforms were on the right track.
Key findings from the report include:
- When asked to rate the importance of the initiatives in making banking better, each initiative scored between 62 and 75 per cent.
- The initiatives that will have the greatest impact on trust are strengthening the Code of Banking Practice and changing the way bank staff are paid.
- Respondents are most aware of actions their main bank has taken in relation to the removal of individuals from the industry for poor conduct (53 per cent), followed by a strengthening of commitment to the Code of Banking Practice (51 per cent).
- Based on the 2017 Edelman Global Trust Barometer, Australians’ trust in the financial services sector has increased slightly, but is still four points behind the global average.
“Banks are trusted when they’re considered stable, well-regulated and reliable. This research shows just how much more work needs to be done before trust in bank culture and conduct reach stronger levels than seen in this research,” Bligh said.
“The research will be conducted regularly to assess progress and identify areas for further reform.”