Banks have a big trust problem, and they can—and must—address it, according to “How to (Re)Build Consumer Trust,” a newly released report from Aite Group. “Twenty three percent of consumers trust banks, but just 2 percent go as far as saying that they have a high degree of trust in banks,” according to the report. Trust is higher when it comes to customers’ primary banks, with 12 percent saying they have high level of trust and 45 percent saying they trust their primary institutions. The financial crisis and subsequent recession may be driving these low results, but that should not dissuade banks from taking action, because “banks require a high—not just a minimum—level of customer trust to grow and strengthen customer relationships,” Aite Group says.

“The numbers are not overwhelming in the least,” according to Ron Shevlin, senior analyst at Aite Group and author of the study. “There’s a huge difference between just okay and really good.” A high degree of trust is “very important in referral behavior and future purchases,” he notes. The higher the level the more likely customers are to refer others and expand their business with their primary institutions.

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