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Big banks' long road ahead restoring customer trust

30 October 2018

The big banks have got some work to do earning the confidence and trust back from Australians if a new survey is anything to go by.

The inaugural Deloitte Trust Index – Banking 2018 survey has found that only one in five Australians believe banks act ethically.

Furthermore, only one in four Aussies think banks take responsibility for their mistakes or keep their promises to customers.

Well over half of respondents believe banks have the interests of shareholders front and centre rather than customers and only a third believe banks always look for new ways to provide better services to customers.

Corporate law academic Justin O’Brien conducted the survey and spoke to the Australian Financial Review.

“Banks’ actions have been reflecting short-term shareholder interests, not the interests of the corporation as a whole, which after all, is the directors’ ultimate fiduciary duty,” he said.

“This survey brings into sharp sunlight the ethical failures and, as such, acts as the ultimate disinfectant.”

Deloitte partner Willem Punt oversaw the survey and said most Australians still trusted banks to keep their money safe, but lenders could possibly start getting a competitive advantage if they started getting trust right.

“Today’s business world is far more about communities and relationships and far less about transactions,” he told AFR.

“Customers consider the mindset of the seller far more important in rebuilding trust than the detailed characteristics of what is being sold.”

“The companies that get this, at the deepest level, are exhibiting the kinds of behaviours that genuinely build trust.”

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