Fostering Trust in Relationship Banking

New reputation rankings and data on customer acquisition show the essential role of financial expertise and trusted counsel in building banking relationships

Thanks to the debt ceiling deal and a strong jobs report for May, the economy continues its track record of beating expectations. Hot on the heels of this better economic news, new data from the Axios Harris Poll 100 finds that reputations for financial brands are also maintaining momentum, despite a bruising Spring for the banking sector. The financial brands rated as “very good” include: American Express, rising 29 places to #17; Fidelity Investments, remaining steady at #29; JPMorgan Chase, jumping 17 spots to #31; and Capital One staying at #38. PayPal again ranks as #44. Two notorious and troubled brands understandably got a “poor” rating – Bitcoin at #93 and FTX nearly last at #99.

For financial services, reputation really does matter. That’s because what people think of a brand influences their level of trust, and trust is at the heart of relationship banking. “[But] in late 2022, consumer trust in banks fell for the first time since 2018, after reaching an all-time high of 64% in 2021 in Forrester’s Banking Customer Experience Index,” according to Insider Intelligence on the poll. “Bank runs earlier this year starkly illustrated the consequences when financial brands lose the trust and loyalty of their customers. Brands must build their reputations as a buffer against further crises.” Not only is trust good for banking’s bottom line, it’s good for consumers, too.

Illuminating new data on why people switch their primary financial institution provides important insights into how to build those trusting banking relationships. “The five key reasons consumers switch providers have largely trended upward in importance year over year,” according to Today’s Financial Consumer Report from the Canada-based CGI. “Access to independent experts and advice on how to pay back loans quickly have become especially critical in today’s inflation-driven, high-interest environment.” What consumers are looking for by switching providers is something banks are already well-positioned to provide: deep financial expertise and trusted counsel.

Source: CGI, “Today’s Financial Consumer: Doing the Right Things in the Right Way to Satisfy Changing Expectations,” March, 2023

“During today’s economic uncertainty, consumers want guidance, advice, and support,” according to an analysis of recent customer acquisition strategies by Insider Intelligence. “They also want effective tools that can help them navigate rising interest rates and stubborn inflation.” These are core pillars of an enduring relationship – that don’t just matter when a customer brings their business to a bank, but throughout their entire financial lives. “Consumers also have a strong desire for financial education and communication,” says Insider Intelligence, especially in times of financial stress. “Provide them with the knowledge they need to make the best decisions for their given circumstances.”

If you’re a banking leader looking for strategies customized to your financial institution, get in touch with Adrenaline’s banking and credit union experts. And, don’t forget to subscribe to Believe in Banking to stay up to date with the latest news impacting the banking industry.