Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Public trust in banks massively eroded by scandals

Two-thirds of people say their trust in banks has been eroded in the wake of the recent banking scandals, a study carried out on behalf of building societies has found.

The Building Societies Association (BSA) commissioned research which found that 16% of customers of the main high street banks said they have already switched their provider or are likely to do so.

The study found that 66% of people said their trust in banks has fallen and 79% said their trust in building societies has remained the same or increased.

Of those who plan to switch their current account, a quarter said they would move to a building society, a fifth plan to move to a small bank, 3% would move to a credit union and 2% said they plan to keep their cash at home.

Nearly half (47%) said they plan to move to another big bank.

Adrian Coles, director-general of the BSA, said: "It is clear from the results of this survey and the direct experience of our members, that large numbers of consumers are now looking for a different approach to financial services.

"Many people are finding what they want at a building society, other mutuals or ethical banks."

The BSA-commissioned study was conducted among 2,000 adults earlier this month.

The sector has been rocked in recent weeks by events such as NatWest's IT meltdown and Barclays' Libor-fixing scandal.

Mr Coles said: "My concern, however, is that in the long-term, if this crop of scandals at our banks continues both the economy and the financial services sector as a whole will be damaged.

"The balance between speed, transparency and probity in relation to these issues is a delicate one and we are relying on both government and regulators to navigate carefully."