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Only 1 in 5 says banks keep promises

By Claes Bell, CFA · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Posted: 4 pm ET

When it comes to how their customers perceive them, banks and other financial institutions still have a lot of work to do to repair the damage caused by the financial crisis.

According to the latest study by Corporate Executive Board, North American consumers, by a 13-point margin, say they have little or no overall confidence in their financial institutions. Amazingly, that's actually an improvement of FIs' showing in the survey last quarter, when just 17 percent of customers had "complete or a lot of confidence" in their FI.

When you drill down a little further into the numbers, many of these measures have improved by a few points over last quarter. But the picture is still really grim.

  • Only 20 percent had confidence their financial institution would keep their commitments and promises, versus 34 percent who had little or no confidence.
  • A whopping 42 percent said they had little or no confidence their FI offered clear and simple policies and fees, versus 18 percent who said they did.
  • Only 19 percent felt confident their FI cared about them, versus 38 percent who didn't.

I still don't think many FIs have realized how much damage the financial crisis and its aftermath did to their brands, and how little the efforts they've undertaken to fix them have yielded in many cases. People are still very angry out there, and the failure of many FIs to take responsibility for their roles in the crisis and the way they've treated customers is making the situation worse than it has to be.

FI customers' dim view of their financial services providers does, however, represent an opportunity for smaller institutions and startups to win some new customers, which we've seen with the substantial influx of customers into small banks and credit unions in the last year or so.

What do you think? Do you have confidence your financial services provider has your best interests at heart?

Follow me on Twitter: @ClaesBell

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