The Fragile State of Bank Reputations – results from a 2012 American survey

Trust. Admiration. Respect. When was the last time you heard these words used to describe a bank? Not so long ago in fact, according to an American Banker/Reputation Institute study just published

American banks improved their reputations in 2011 over 2010. And two banks (Harris Bank and Zions Bank) scored over 70 out of 100, crossing into ‘strong corporate reputation’ territory. Which seems strange considering the state of the industry over the last five years.

However, 2012 paints a less rosy picture. This year all American banks were below the 70 threshold, and the number of banks with a score under 60, which indicates weak or vulnerable reputation, rose from six to eight.

The reputation scores in the study are based on seven reputation drivers: corporate citizenship, financial performance, governance, innovation, leadership, products and services, and workplace environment.

Detailed information about reputation drivers which goes beyond bland pronouncements about ‘overall reputation’ provides essential insight as to why a company has a good or bad reputation. But as one blogger pointed out, can the average consumer really be expected to know about a company’s governance or financial performance? Which begs the question — how valid are the results of the survey?