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Do you trust your bank?

By Marcie Geffner ·
Friday, January 14, 2011
Posted: 9 am ET

Banks and their customers don't exactly see eye to eye when it comes to consumers' attitudes about banks' reputation and trustworthiness. That's the key finding of one recent survey on the subject.

The difference between consumers' and bankers' impressions was a matter of 44 points on the most recent biannual Index of Bank Sentiment, created by banking consultants BAI & Finacle and based on surveys of bankers and 2,500 U.S. bank customers.

The index consists of a consumer portion, on which the reading came in at 77 points, and a banker portion, on which the tally was 121 points, suggesting that bankers have much greater faith in their customers' positive attitudes than reality indicates. The baseline of 100 was established in August 2009.

The researchers attributed the gap to the bankers' greater emphasis on how much progress they think they've made in the past year. Consumers seemingly aren't nearly as impressed as bankers believe they should be.

Other findings:

Bank reputation and image

  • 64 percent of respondents said their primary bank has a good image and reputation.
  • 62 percent said they trust their primary bank.
  • 40 percent said they feel their bank doesn't look out for their interests.
  • 37 percent said banks generally are trustworthy.

Bank services and fees

  • 85 percent of respondents said they expect to pay no fees for a checking account.
  • 68 percent choose online banking as their most frequently used banking option.
  • 52 percent said they're very knowledgeable about the fees their bank charges.
  • 44 percent said banks' fees are reasonable.
  • 42 percent are neutral on the subject of bank fees.

Personal finances

  • 55 percent of respondents said they intend to pay off some or all of their credit card debt.
  • 51 percent said paying off their credit card in full was a priority.
  • 45 percent said they're saving money each month for the future.
  • 24 percent believe U.S. economic conditions will improve in the next six months.

Show of hands, please: Is your bank trustworthy?

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January 24, 2011 at 4:17 pm

As if banks don't make enough money already, they have to go nickel and dime all their customers with hidden fees and other fine print. Its sad it's come to the point that more and more people are losing trust in their bank.

Nick D.

January 19, 2011 at 8:33 am

I do not trust my bank

January 19, 2011 at 8:08 am

I experienced difficulty with the refinancing of my home and later on my loan was sold in May 2009. In August 2009 I entered into a trial modification with another bank. On March 30, 2010 I received a letter stating that I qualify for a permanent modification. Based on that letter I made serious financial decisions with serious ramifications. A few months pass and I did not receive any documents they claimed they would send. My father passes away on June 10th 2010 and I am side tracked but still waiting for documents to be sent. On 10/8/2010 I receive a phone call from (Emily) the bank stating, “It’s not in the best interest of the investor to modify the loan”. Throughout the 16 months I was sent letters encouraging me to continue making my payments in the amount of $1080.35. I was not informed of the fees that were imposed on my loan nor was I informed that these lower payments put me over 100 days past due. I was not informed that my credit score would be affected negatively.
I have received a letter implying foreclosure. Some of the money that I saved throughout the year with the reduced mortgage payment was spent on my home. I replaced two rotten windows, added insulation and installed 2 wood burning stoves which all qualify for the energy efficient tax credit. I am extremely distressed to say the least. Will the government step in to stop the banks from using dirty tactics and misleading people like myself? I have never missed a payment before during or after the trial modification which shows an excellent track record so the bank is assured I can make the new affordable payments on time. My credit score was 766 in 2008 however due toclaiming past due payments, this has negatively impacted my credit score in 2010. I have kept copies of all correspondence with the bank should you need any other information.
There are many ways to reach the same goal. Progressing according to the Home Affordable Modification Program Guidelines with a strategy keeps all invested parties in the game while enabling us to remain passionately committed to the greater cause. Banks need to be reminded that honor and integrity in business should be a standard.
The guidelines state, “If the NPV Test result is negative and a Home Affordable Modification is not pursued, the lender/investor must seek other foreclosure prevention alternatives, including alternative modification programs,…”Consumer protection disclosure from guidelines states, “…servicers also must provide borrowers with clear and understandable written information about the material terms, costs, and risks of the modified mortgage loan in a timely manner to enable borrowers to make informed decisions.” President Obama’s remarks on 2/18/2009 states, “my plan establishes clear guidelines for the entire mortgage industry…. Any institution that wishes to receive financial assistance from the government, and to modify home mortgages, will have to do so according to these guidelines….” This was clearly not the case here.

Erica R
January 17, 2011 at 7:36 am

I trust my bank, and actually really love it. I have an online bank, but every time I've called I've reached an agent that knew just what they were talking about. It helps that they're available 24/7 as well, that way I don't have to worry if I have issues with my debit card on a Saturday or something similar.

Marie Martin
January 15, 2011 at 10:39 am

I'm a new customer. And I am doing a research to figure out the best way to manage my finances. I think that I need a little help. I'm open for suggestions.