Just one in three people believe their bank has their best interests at heart, while the same number trust their bank would to admit to making a mistake.
And that was before the interim royal commission report on the sector’s poor culture and systemic wrongdoings.
The release of inaugural Deloitte Trust Index for banking on Monday has solidified the sector’s diminished standing in the eyes of the general public, with just two in 10 people believing the banks have customers’ best interests at heart, and that what the banks do is ethical, good, right, and fair.
The survey of 2072 people in August showed respondents were more likely to trust their own institution over the wider sector, but nonetheless just over half believe their bank treats them with respect, and will deal with complaints and queries effectively.
“As Commissioner Hayne has demonstrated, compliance related controls of non-financial risks have been ineffective, so there is certainly space for operating model enhancement and change,” Deloitte’s expert on conduct, governance and compliance, Willem Punt, said in a release.
“Compliance is an outcome, not a goal.”
The poll, completed before head honchos from each of the big four banks faced a parliamentary grilling this month, also shows rural and regional residents trust banks more than people in the city, while younger people trust banks more than older people do.
Supporters of smaller and independent political parties trust banks less, while only two-thirds of responders believe their bank knows what they are talking about.
One in three people said regulators were doing a good job of keeping the banks in check.
Mr Punt said the results of the Deloitte Trust Index 2018 on banking indicated where institutions focus the need for urgent action to repair consumer sentiment.
“Being trusted becomes even more critical in an open banking environment where banks will have to contend with the possibility of losing customers to more trusted competitors, as the barriers to exit continue to fall and new entrants join the road to open banking,” he said.
“While there is no indication that consumers do not trust banks to keep their money safe, trustworthiness is expected to play a greater role in shaping consumer choices about where and with whom to bank.”
The seventh round of public hearings for the royal commission will take place in Sydney and Melbourne in November and will focus on policy questions arising from the first six rounds.
The final report is due to be submitted to the Governor-General by February 1, 2019.