bank-trustWe’ve discussed reform of the financial and banking sectors several times already on Debating Europe, and you’ve sent us in your comments offering suggestions and (often robust) criticism. Corrado, for example, sent us in a comment arguing that banks had “betrayed the trust society had put in them“. Indeed, a recent survey from the British consumer protection organisation Which? found that there is still widespread disillusionment with the banking sector.

We’ve talked about the regulatory approach from governments and the European Union, but what can banks themselves do to rebuild trust with ordinary consumers? One of our commenters, Caterina, says she dreams about an “ethical economy” – so what should banks be doing to help contribute to this idea?

Some of our commenters felt that banks had become too large and impersonal, and they had lost touch with ordinary customers. Christos, for example, sent in a comment arguing: “For me, it is back to the basics with banking; to the times where the banks were regulated and people made profit out of their savings, not the other way around.

Likewise, Catherine feels that: “Big banks are not interested in or beneficial for the average man. Therefore a return to smaller concerns that cater simply for the working lower paid would be a good move.

On the other hand, however, we had a comment sent in from Paul, asking: “Is it not what banks do and how they conduct themselves that is more important than how large they become?

So, what would it take for banks to rebuild trust? Greater transparency? A stronger focus on individuals? Would clear and understandable language (with less jargon and mumbo-jumbo), more transparent pricing and easier access to basic bank accounts help banks to regain trust from average consumers?

What do YOU think? What steps do banks need to take in their efforts to regain trust? What do we actually want from our bank in daily life? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.

74 comments Post a commentcomment

  1. avatar
    Hasan Özdemir

    Of course, they should focus the individuals and they have far too selectivity, whilst they trust any an individual or institution.

  2. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    ideally…?? nationalize them…!! but since I know that that will cause a chill down the spines of most capitalists, well then put certain restrictions on them.. way back, we were investing money and we were getting some return.. now not only we get nothing for putting all our money into their banks, not only they charge us, but we have to pay for their bad gambling as well.. that’s enough… if they invest badly, they should go down!! that will teach them to be careful the next time…

    • avatar
      Borislav Sotirov

      I completly agree you Mr. Mouzeviris. Nationalization is the best choice for the global banking system if we want it to work construtively for the economy. Oherwise is is mostly an instrument for the plundering and slowing down of the economy engine.

  3. avatar
    José BARO

    Indeed, banks had betrayed the trust citizens had put in them.
    A clear and friendly regulation will help to regain trust. But also a clear distinction between investment services and lending.
    We should also think about national central banks powers and policies and how to implement in practice a better accountability, supervision, transparent and better regulation in banking services.

  4. avatar
    Luis Nobrega

    It’s a bit ambiguous here,what works for one may not work for others , and regarding the trust issue , it is one of the hardest if not the The hardest to rebuild once broken . So as things are at the moment, I believe that banks should start on having more rigorous recruiting programs with psychological tests then and from time to time as one evolves in his/her career !

  5. avatar
    eusebio manuel vestias pecurto

    A Europa tem paises em que os Bancos estão bem administrados por bons profissionais a esses sir. administradores eu dou os parabéns agora temos outros que já arrebentaram os estão por arrrebentar agora aparece o problema os Bancos bens administrados irão pagar pelos erros dos outros Bancos eu também estou de acordo com a União Bancaria e finaceira Europeia e só assim se pode criar confiaça dos consumidores com a Banca

  6. avatar
    Lucília Gonçalves

    i am portuguese. para que as pessoas confiem na banca o conceito que existe tem que ser alterado. e mais no digo. s se me pagarem!

  7. avatar
    Joanixa Maldonado

    a clear and understandable language to start…then pq raiio q isto em pginas tugas, t em Ingls? mas ok…whatever…

  8. avatar
    Lino Galveias

    stick back to simple credit plans to people and businesses as well as a mere depositing agent. no investment in risky market plans like they’ve been doing, no bull**** with toxic funds and c**p like that.
    being responsible, and clear. they should have to report everything to their clients and not just to their shareholders.
    have responsible managements.
    btw, Joanixa a pgina internacional.

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      The answer is do not trust the banks, they are not trustworthy. The same guys are running the show now who are the same freaks who robbed us all in the first place.

      And the same politicians are running the show that colluded with them.

      If you have any money in bailed out banks, withdraw it. That is how you trust banks, remove your money from their hands. The people should not hand their money to those who are fraudulent.

      Listen to this man. He tells it as it is. Ignore the discussion they have for health care at the beginning. They follow with how, what and where this farce got us all.

      This next video is telling us all what the banks and the politicians are doing to force us all into slave labour. This is serious it shows us even pilots in the richest country in the world are on destitution wages. Do not think it will not happen to you. It will.

      We have a Capitalist system that is not working for the majority of our citizens, and it is the responsibility of those who rule to stop this abuse of the citizen and their money.

      Don’t trust banks they are run by thieves and are backed by thieves. This movie titled, Capitalism: a Love Story gives an idea of what has truly happened. It was made a couple of years ago but just as relevant today.

  9. avatar
    Phạm Lê Quốc Việt

    they should help the lowest level of goverment (municipal) by where the citizen live and work. Lets banks save banks, It is not the function of goverment. European union lost too much time too much money to save banks and central government of member state without any gain

  10. avatar
    Fer Nandinho

    Banks and investments companies are white globe thieves, they will never change, because no government has the balls to deal with them the way they should, many directors, executives etc are at home laughing at us with their bonuses while we pay for their mistakes. Banks will never regain our trust, would you trust someone who lies, steals, and then laughs at you?

  11. avatar
    Octavian Brichis

    In order to regain trust and relunch the investments and goods consumption, I think Banks should offer loans with increasing installments, not egual or descending. It could be a good start of a business made with such loan!

  12. avatar
    Peter Schellinck

    Time is out: “All providers of financial services need to focus on transparency and trust”. The outcome would be positive for everyone, both the customer and the banks. They will benefit from a closer relationship with their customers and a better understanding of customer needs, which have changed. At the same time some more competition in this market is good all round.

    If banks don’t take steps to rebuild their reputations, don’t create new and compelling services, and don’t explore partnership opportunities, the future of the industry will continue to look shaky. The customer – provider relationship has to start afresh; surely the “anti-consumer” economic model of retail banking that makes money by punishing customers for making mistakes, charging them for basic access to their money and getting them to spend above their means, is on borrowed time in today’s world. Where are the days that customer was king?

    To regain trust banks need to offer services that their customers genuinely value. In return, customers are going to pay for what they get and they will even go as far as to recommend their bank to their friends. This may seem a world away from where we are now and its not going to be an easy journey, but by making significant changes it is possible.

    And now is absolutely not the time to invest millions in ill- founded advertising campaigns that attempt to sell the idea of service and a relationship that has long since expired. Trust is rebuilt from the bottom up, one customer at a time, by doing the right thing and genuinely being a positive force in someone’s life.

    Now is the time for action, to go back to basics and look at the new tools that are at a bank’s disposal. The world and the banking industry has changed fundamentally and by actively embracing these changes, it is possible for banks to help customers navigate through their lives, even in tough economic times.
    By becoming useful again, banks can rediscover relevance and actually add value to a relationship that has been one-way for too long.

    If banks are being blamed for the downfall of the world economy, then the best way to turn around public opinion is to do something right to those perceived wrongs. Sanctions on greed and irresponsible risk taking must be installed. In addition give entrepreneurs a voice and the opportunity to gain the investment required to get projects off the ground, creating jobs and value.

    Banks find themselves in an extremely privileged position in a customer’s life; they can see absolutely everything that a customer is spending their hard-earned cash on. But even though they sit in this lofty seat, they use this information to facilitate cross-sell and up-sell rather than to improve the overall financial position of each of their customers. Treat the customer as “guest” please!

  13. avatar
    Andreea Mihaela

    I think what Icelsnd people did with their banking system is the example for the rest of Europe…:). The suystem how it is today is sick, it has to br erased from bottom and rebuild!

  14. avatar
    Mirela Moldovan

    Greater transparency and understandable language would help for sure, clear and simple rules also..

  15. avatar
    Radu Micu

    Nobody force nobody to use the bank. The bank will die if we don’t use the system. If it’s not good, will go broke. If you use it, pay the debt. Or drop it!

  16. avatar
    Laszlo Nagy

    The bubbles happened because of too much loaning, and it might be better if the people think it well over, if they want to have debts for something. Maybe the consumer-society of our time became a little more considerate over the recent years. Anyway, in the closed system of our planet, is continuous economic develpoment really sustainable?
    So trust or not, by recent events one could learn that it is not good to be overly dependent on banks.

  17. avatar
    Liliana da Gama

    the banking sector should be completely separated from the financial sector and from financial speculation, which together with well-placed corrupt politicians and leaders are driving many people in many countries to misery.

  18. avatar
    Rui Martins Barata

    More and better regulation… People first, banking and financial services should exist only to serve economy and people and not to serve themselves. In the hands of the Europeans and their leaders.New leadership is needed

  19. avatar
    Borislav Valkov

    Money should NOT be in control by private interests! This stock(money) must be controled by EU so such crisis would never start!

  20. avatar
    Phon Sophat

    This is real logical issue for solution ,but by my experiences in banking ,I think that there are many sectors like: 1-Strengthen the structures and management well.2-Strengthen on Financial sector as Cash as liquidity and Services or products to customers better than past time.3-Strengthen the capacities of human in banking.4-Good at promotion and running by regulation of central bank or EU bank.5-Risk management by accident department created.6-Financial Leverage Effect is limited in one rate for protecting the Crisis.

  21. avatar
    Miguel Verissimo

    Banks are service providers! Based on money profit but akso trust. They aren’t institutions.. Governments are. And governments should serve the people, not banks!!! That’s how the chain of command works! So the questions is all way arround – what will governments do to put banks on course? The problem is – governments have immense debts and are no longer independent.. Banks control debts so they control the governments. But this vicious cycle has a weake part between Gov, people and banks…. And banks are so…. They must play by the rules governments and people create. And, the money we gave to control the recent finance crisis must be cut on the debt we own to banks. That’s a point….

  22. avatar
    Hasan Özdemir

    ?’m afraid of a totality such as our or we anyway, if it is related the money and banks. it remembers me Hitler or Stalin or Mao. i believes honest individuals and the money of them.

  23. avatar
    Rui Duarte

    The failure of Lehman Brothers and the «Financial Crisis» is also the intellectual bankrupcy of a financial architecture designed in the late 1970s and early 1980s, that was supposed to get us «efficient markets» and a leaner meaner economy. IT FAILED. Deregulation failed; and we won’t get back to economic growth until we SET a new financial architecture UP.

  24. avatar
    João Machado

    Banks and money are obsolete tools. Lets open our eyes for viable and sustainable alternatives. Google: Resource Based Economy

  25. avatar
    Fadia Khraisat

    How can you trust in a bank?!??? Maybe the right question is what EU has to do to regain the trust of citizens?

  26. avatar
    Rui Duarte

    First, banks need to separate «investment banking» from «commercial banking». When they place their money in a «commercial bank», people should KNOW (and have the legal guarantee) that this money will be placed in «loans», NOT in financial market adventures. If people deliberately want to trust their money to «investment banks», they should be free to do so. Yet, these two very different businesses should be kept strictly apart, in different companies.

  27. avatar
    Rui Duarte

    Banks should be banned from unrelated markets. Staple foods should not be traded by banks.

  28. avatar
    Anthony Cardona

    Lower interest rates on mortgages
    Lower interest on loans
    Long term fixed interest rates for new business start ups
    Banks contribute more to social investments
    Banks banning obscene bonuses to idiots who ruined the economy
    Banks subsidise salaries to independent monitoring agencies
    Banks providing more decent jobs

    I’ll print out a whole list actually… and yet if banks are not that creative to come up with their own ideas I’ll just close them down.

  29. avatar
    Constantin Escu


  30. avatar
    σαντυ αλεξανδρου

    They have to be created from the beginning.And show a truly human face.Well……………what the hell……………They’ll never regain peoples trust except if they take xasis(people).

  31. avatar
    Jude De Froissard

    Simple….help people to get their own money in cash ,or any other normal and legal way….after all…it is our money.

  32. avatar
    Ingo Vonsundahl

    Stop bench mark mortgage rates. Stop putting profits before people. Stop evictions. Stop charging hidden comissions. Stop charging not so hidden comissions. In Spain for instance they charge you three times the cost of money if you have an overdraft. Stop selling financially products that are designed to confuse. Stop being pompous. Stop having ex MPs on thier boards of directors. Want some more?

  33. avatar
    Maria Giannali

    I agree with Catherine who says: ““Big banks are not interested in or are beneficial for the average man. Therefore a return to smaller concerns that cater simply for the working lower paid would be a good move.“

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