Banks we trust the most – and the least

Australians rate Greater Bank the most trustworthy of 31 banks and the Bank of China the least trustworthy, according to a new survey. And neo bank Up has debuted in seventh spot.

The quarterly Glow Banking Brand and Trust Index surveyed 1250 Australians between 24 and 28 March about their trust in banks and other industries. The latest survey revealed Greater Bank had moved up three places from last quarter’s results to take out the top spot, with a net trust score of +23 (on a scale from -100 to +100).

Three neo banks – digital-only banks that do not have physical branches – were included for the first time. Up debuted in seventh spot, 86 400 was 21st (+8) and Xinja 27th (+4).

Of the big four banks, the biggest improver was Westpac, which went from negative territory to +3, but is still ranked 29.

AMP (-8) and Bank of China (-21) were the only ones with a worse ranking this quarter, while NAB (+7), CommBank (+7) and ANZ (+6) were ranked 22, 23, and 24 respectively.

Tim Clover, CEO and founder at research company Glow, put the big four’s performances down to lingering effects of the financial services royal commission but buoyed by measures introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The big four have been through the royal commission and Westpac having the financial watchdog AUSTRAC level 23 million allegations against it for breaches of money-laundering and counter-terrorism finance laws,” he said.

“With COVID-19, the banks have had an ideal opportunity to raise their trust levels as the government has asked them to relax some requirements, particularly related to the payment of the JobKeeper subsidy, along with the halting of mortgages for hundreds of thousands of Australians.”

Mr Clover said the banks have an ideal opportunity to regain trust during COVID-19.

“The big four have increased their trust, but not as much as they perhaps would have liked,” he said. “Many recent studies have confirmed that consumers expect brands to help the community right now.

“Banks, even more so, have a huge role to play in extending forgiveness, lines of credit and supporting small businesses.”

Generally, smaller banks and customer-owned (or formerly customer-owned) institutions had the highest levels of trustworthiness, while the big four ranked worse than the average industry score of +8.

Greater Bank, an Australian customer-owned bank and mutual financial institution, topped the index for the first time. Its rating went from 20 to 23, which moved it up from fourth place from the December Index.

Bendigo Bank, which was No.1 in December, slipped to fifth place with its rating going from 23 to 20.

CUA, HSBC and AMP were the biggest improvers among second-tier banks.

Neo banks were included in the index for the first time. Mr Clover said: “COVID’s acceleration of digital technologies has enhanced the stakes for the digital banks.

“The acceleration of digital offerings is likely to be a lasting impact of the crisis and only works in favour for many that have started to already move in this direction. Up bank dominating over competitors on trust in this break-out category, in addition to the societal shift towards digital, makes for a bright future.”

The Glow survey also asked Australians about their trust in certain industries.

The banking industry ranked 14th out of 17, with a net trust score of +8.

Online social media platforms performed the worst, and were the only category to score in negative territory at -11.

Other poor performers were media at +1 and elected governments at +8.

Those surveyed placed most trust in department stores, airlines, electronics manufacturers and electronics stores.

A similar survey is conducted in the UK, where the banking industry is the fourth-most trusted industry, with a trust score of +24.

Has your trust in banks improved in recent months? Have you embraced any of the neo banks?

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Janelle Ward
Janelle Ward
Energetic and skilled editor and writer with expert knowledge of retirement, retirement income, superannuation and retirement planning.
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