Americans trust their banks with one of their most precious assets: their money. In return, banks are supposed to work for consumers and adopt practices that are fair and reasonable. In the last several years, however, the country's largest banks have failed to live up to these standards, and this has not gone unnoticed by consumers.
From the robo-signing scandal and mortgage lawsuits to excessive fees and restricted lending, Americans' opinions of the 30 largest banks in the country have plummeted, a recent study shows.
The American Banker/Reputation Institute survey reveals that in 2011, 24 of the largest 30 banks earned higher reputational ratings from consumers compared with 2010. In 2012, however, the number of banks that scored below 60 on a 100-point scale rose.
"Banks are very competitive, so they tend to think of reputation as another chance to beat their rivals," said Anthony Johndrow, managing partner at the Reputation Institute. "But it's not a race, or if it is, then it's a very long one, especially given where banks are right now."
Bank consultants say large banks need to focus on improving their relationships with existing customers. However, the last several months of various studies reveal more consumers have already shunned megabanks in favor of the personalized and affordable services they often receive at community banks and credit unions.