Less than one-third of Australians say they have high levels of trust in the banking industry, according to new Australian Bankers’ Association research.
Conducted by Edelman Intelligence, ABA’s report found almost half of Australians (43 per cent) had only ‘neutral’ levels of trust in the banking industry to do the right thing, while the trust levels of 27 per cent were ‘low’.
This left 30 per cent of Australians who felt they had ‘high trust’ in the banking industry to do the right thing.
Commenting on the results, ABA chief executive Anna Bligh said, “The research shows low levels of trust, confidence and transparency in the banking industry with a clear need for improvement.”
Among the 70 per cent with neutral or low levels of trust, ‘driven by profit’ was voted as the top reason (85 per cent) for their sentiment regarding the industry.
The other reasons for why these respondents felt only neutral or low trust was because banks were not focused on customer needs or were failing to be transparent with banking fees and terms, the report said.
Notably, sentiment regarding consumers’ trust in their main banks were higher (53 per cent) than when compared to that of the industry as a whole, which was at 31 per cent.
“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,” Ms Bligh said.
According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, Australia’s financial services sector showed a small increase in overall trust having shifted two points up since 2016 to 50 points this year, moving from negative to neutral.
However, Australia lagged behind other nations whose populations held higher levels of trust in their financial services sector, led by India at 83 points, Indonesia at 81 points and China at 77 points.
The report was created by ABA to gauge the impact of its Banking Reform Program, aimed at increasing bank accountability and restoring the public’s trust in banking institutions.
The research was compiled in May-June this year from an online survey involving over 1,000 Australians and 12 focus groups.