The majority of financial sector professionals (60 percent) do not believe that stronger regulation will be sufficient to restore confidence and pride in the U.K. banking industry, and believe financial institutions need to take a proactive approach to turning around negative sentiment, according to In Banks We Trust?, a new research study produced by public relations firm Hotwire and the Institute of Ideas.
Almost six out of 10 (58 percent) feel that corporate communications is key to improving the reputation of the sector. Only 3 percent believe financial services companies have done a good job in communicating their dual responsibilities to shareholders and customers to date. The research also revealed that the majority of respondents (65 percent) feel the media plays an active role in fuelling and encouraging negative sentiment towards the sector.
Perhaps that last finding is a factor in the ambivalence shown toward increased transparency. Only 34 percent feel that increased transparency will help restore trust, compared to 28 percent who feel that transparency would encourage even greater scrutiny of the sector and further undermine confidence and pride in the sector.
According to Richard Janes, co-director of the banking and finance practice at Hotwire,“The findings demonstrate that those charged with managing the reputations of beleaguered banks face a tough task. However, the sector itself endorses the role of corporate communications in turning around public sentiment. This industry buy-in is the first step towards enhancing the communications efforts of the sector, ultimately focused on restoring confidence and pride.”