The scorecard on trust: How Australian banks compare with global peers

  • By Christine St Anne

Latest industry research has revealed that trust scorecard on global banks following the health pandemic, one Australian bank garnering a high NPS off the back of a recent targeted upgrade to its mobile banking.

According to RFi Group research, across key global markets, ‘provide reassurance that your bank is stable, and your money is secure’ were among the top three responses customers are looking for from their bank to help support them through the pandemic.

In Australia and New Zealand reassurances around security rank as the second most important response customers are looking for, behind a removal of fees, and this option is ranked 1st in the UK and US.

Consistently across markets consumers said that for financial services providers to win and maintain their trust they must ‘keep my money safe’ and ‘protect my personal and financial information’.

Here banks are on the front-foot.

When consumers were asked about the extent to which they trust various providers to keep their money safe and maintain the privacy and security of their personal information, banks were ahead of retailers, technology companies and even the government.

However, RFi Group revealed that Australia lags its global peers on the trust metrics.

Globally, trust in banks has been increasing over the last six months. Banks remain less trusted in Australia compared to other markets, however, there has been a slight increase in trust levels with 49 per cent of Australians trusting banks in the first half of 2020, compared to 44 per cent in late 2019.

In comparison, the UK has seen a fairly significant increase in trust in banks over the same period, from 49 per cent up to 60 per cent while the US saw a smaller increase from 52 per cent to 57 per cent.

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic could provide Australian banks with a valuable opportunity to re-set the trust narrative, particularly following the royal commission, according to RFi Group deputy general manager Kate Wilson.

Having an initiative like Benefits Finder which is about really giving something back to customers is really making a difference.

“There is definitely an opportunity for Australia’s banks to win customer trust back,” Wilson said.

“We have sort of seen some indication that customers want stability and security and see this as something they can get from the major banks.

“At the same time all banks need to be focusing on putting their customers first and making sure that their customers are managing the challenges under the pandemic,” Wilson added.

Here she highlights initiatives such as a focus in areas like financial inclusion and financial well-being.

“These strategies would really help change customers perceptions of trust in their banks, not just now but also post pandemic.”

Indeed, Australia’s largest lender has already rolled out new money management features under its CommBank app 4.0 strategy that included initiatives such as updating the benefits finder to proactively support its customers through the health pandemic, in addition to existing features to help customers save and reach financial goals.

The move seems to have boosted their satisfaction levels.

According to RFi Group data, the net promoter score of CBA’s mobile app among MFI customers increased from 32 to 39 since they launched CommBank app 4.0

“Having an initiative like Benefits Finder which is about really giving something back to customers is really making a difference.”  

The full report is included in the August edition of the AB+F Magazine.