The State of Trust in Financial Services

According to past research, financial services consistently appeared as one of the least-trusted sectors in business. However, data gathered by the American College Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics shows reasons for hope—and offers a more optimistic outlook.

Using a combination of surveys, focus group discussions, and individual interviews, the team at the Center for Ethics gathered insights from nearly 2,000 consumers about their beliefs and behaviors regarding the financial services industry.

Putting in the Work

Despite well-chronicled dynamics and practices that cratered public trust over a decade ago, our research shows that trust in financial services is moderate compared to other service industries.

KEY INSIGHT

Consumers rated financial services as the third most-trusted of seven service industry sectors.

Demographics of Trust Index™*

Considering consumer demographics is also key to understanding and resolving lingering issues. Our research found individuals with a lower level of trust in financial services tend to have similar demographic characteristics, and as such, opportunities for trust-building may exist within these groups.

While low-trust consumers tend to use fewer financial products and have lower household incomes and assets, they also are more likely to have no loans or debt. This suggests their low trust may lead to avoidance—another hurdle the financial services industry must overcome.

Trust has the potential to be a key enabler of industry change, provided financial companies can understand the feelings and motivations among low-trust demographics and make inroads based on their individual priorities. For example, our survey specifically identifies factors that can influence women as a group to place greater trust in financial services companies.

* % of Consumers who Mentioned Company Characteristic as a Reason for Trusting | n=1,627

^ Insight from consumer focus groups and in-depth interviews

DEMOGRAPHIC: WOMEN TRUST PRIORITIES

KEEPING MY INFORMATION PRIVATE

RESOLVING ISSUES QUICKLY

EASE OF ACCESS TO MY MONEY

AVOIDING UNEXPECTED FEES

TREATING ME WITH RESPECT

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