‘Crisis of trust’: 80% of Aussies think banks are unethical

By James Mitchell
 — 1 minute read

Deloitte has measured how Australians feel about the banks after their dirty laundry was aired by the Hayne royal commission. The results aren't pretty.

This week Deloitte launched its Australian Trust Index, which measures levels of customer trust and general trust influence factors. In this Inaugural Index – Banking 2018, the professional services firm surveyed banking customers to identify the way forward to rebuild reputation and trust.

Over 2,000 randomly selected demographically representative Australians were surveyed in August of this year. The vast majority of Australians (80 per cent) believe that banks are unethical. The index found that only 20 per cent believe that banks in general are ethical – that they do what is “good, right and fair”.


“The banking sector has undergone a rigorous and exposing investigation through the Royal Commission into Misconduct in Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services,” Deloitte Trust Index author Willem Punt said. “It highlights the depth of the crisis of trust in the sector in Australia.

“We specifically designed the index to measure levels of customer trust and general trust influence factors so that we could deepen our understanding of the factors influencing trust. This enables us to point to actions banks can take to restore reputation and trust,” he said.

The index also gives a weighted national benchmark to use to compare individual organisational performance. It considered what is most important to the average Australian customer when it comes to trusting their bank and ‘banks in general’.

“The index indicates the greatest driver of perceptions of trustworthiness among bank customers is a mindset of consistently keeping promises,” Mr Punt. “Trust improves when it comes to my own bank as opposed to banks in general.”

Only 36 per cent of the 2,000+ Australian banking customers surveyed believe their bank has their best interests at heart, whereas only 21 per cent believe banks in general have their customers’ best interests at heart. Also, 49 per cent trust their own bank to keep its promises compared with 26 per cent in general.

“These results and those of the full index are particularly valuable given that culture and conduct will both get a very hard edge in the strengthened regulatory environment mooted by Commissioner Hayne, who has signalled a greater role for the judiciary in ensuring accountability for significant and systemic poor conduct,” Mr Punt said. 

The way forward to rebuild reputation and trust in today’s business world is far more about communities and relationships and far less about transactions, said Andy Bateman, Monitor Deloitte Strategy Partner and a key author of the Deloitte Trust Management Model

“The companies that get this, at the deepest level, are exhibiting the kinds of behaviours that genuinely build trust," he said.


‘Crisis of trust’: 80% of Aussies think banks are unethical
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