Public Relations Tactics

Financial Services Industry Still Struggling to Regain Consumer Trust

September 5, 2017

[evan-el amin/shutterstock]
[evan-el amin/shutterstock]

Nearly a decade after the 2008 financial crisis imploded the American economy, its impact on consumers and the industry persists.

As the Institute for Public Relations reports, Americans are still trying to rebuild the wealth they lost during the crisis and resulting recession, and many financial-service companies continue to suffer from a poor public image and lost revenue.

According to the 2016 Makovsky Wall Street Reputation Survey, 27 percent of consumers have lost trust in the financial-services industry, and 91 percent worry that another financial crisis could occur.

Consumers are also concerned about cybersecurity, with 86 percent saying they’d likely switch financial institutions after a data breach. For consumers, a financial institution’s reputation is now largely determined by its ability to combat a security threat. Consumers would like to see more transparency, personalized customer service and adherence to regulations from financial-service companies. Most financial-services executives surveyed believe additional regulation will improve reputations and trust with consumers more quickly, even as noncompliance with regulations makes it harder for the industry to rebuild its reputation.

Seventy percent of consumers surveyed said a company’s reputation is undermined by negative employee perceptions of the business and its products and services. To address negative employee perceptions, companies are communicating more, using social media and implementing employee-recognition programs, the study found. With social media, companies can engage a younger audience, project a more transparent culture and communicate with employees. — Greg Beaubien


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