This week, Barclays was found to be manipulating lending rates and NatWest, Ulster Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland customers suffered as a result of technical glitches. But has this affected our trust in the banks?
This week, two separate banking crises have dominated our headlines, having had a significant impact on both the economy and us consumers. But was anyone really surprised?
One of the most shocking discoveries was that Barclays had been manipulating Libor for the purpose of increasing the bank’s overall profits. The impact is potentially enormous and, unsurprisingly, has done little to inspire confidence in the bank.
In fact, a recent YouGov study found that the public’s brand perception of Barclays fell below that of BP in the height of its oil spill crisis – and that’s pretty low.
Fixes, glitches and riches
In a recent Which? Convo, we asked if you thought individuals should be prosecuted for their part in these scandals. You told us (in no uncertain terms) how you thought those involved should pay for breaking our trust. Terryindorset said:
‘Corrupt activities have been perpetrated and had we non-banking people done similar things, we’d be put in jail.’
And in a poll we conducted last week, eight in ten (78%) agreed that when a law is broken by a bank, the individual(s) involved should be personally prosecuted.
We sifted through other discussions online on the issue (using analysis by research group Trufflenet) to gauge the sentiment of 2,500 tweets on the issue. Over 20% blamed Barclays specifically for the Libor scandal, but there were many mentions of RBS (17%) and the Bank of England (14%), showing Barclays are not the only ones in the firing line.
In banks we distrust
In fact the research from YouGov suggests that other banks are being affected by association. The BrandIndex – the metric used by YouGov to track the public’s perception of bands – appears to affect the general perception of the UK banking industry as HSBC and Lloyds’ index scores have also significantly fallen.
Thankfully I wasn’t hit by the problems this week, but I think it would have made me reconsider my custom with the bank if I had been. If your bank has let you down and hasn’t made an effort to rectify the issue, what’s stopping you from moving on?
It appears some people are already switching as the Co-operative Bank reported an increase of 25% in online applications for its current accounts this week alone.
The banks have a long way to go before they can restore people’s trust – particularly considering the banking crisis over the past few years. We’re working hard to make sure financial regulators take their part in restoring our trust in the banks, but in the meantime, will you stand your ground and switch?