Trust in banking still high despite recent scandals, claims India index on ‘Financial Services Reputation’

According to a study by Pitchfork Partners, and MHP, an international communication consultancy, an overwhelming majority in India showed trust in the banking and financial services sector.

The study titled, Financial Services Reputation Index (FSRI) India Report' – the study was conducted across India and Asia. 89% of people surveyed in India said banking services in India were "good" while flagging off data security, honesty and transparency as the top three customer priorities.

While concerns about honesty are on the customer's mind given the recent corruption scandals with banks such as PNB and ICICI and the malaise of non-performing assets, at the same time Indian customers think highly of bankers, ranking them above politicians and the police as trustworthy.

Building trust in 'Financial Sevices'

The study also identified good customer service (23%) and greater transparency  (20%) as the top two concerns while availing of financial services. This underlines the need for effective customer communication.

Agreeing with this finding, Nirmal Jain, founder and chairman, IIFL Group said, "Transparency, the highest level of corporate governance and responsiveness would go a long way in strengthening the sector's reputation."

Jaideep Shergill, co-founder, Pitchfork Partners, said: “Increased regulation and competition across Asia have raised consumer trust in financial services, but most consumers would like to see even more transparency.” 

Sharing pointers on what ails the reputation of the financial sector, Vallabh Bhanshali, chairman and co-founder, Enam Securities said, "Our biggest reputational risks remain misselling, dealing with wrong people due to poor diligence, greed, coercion and unintelligent regulation."

Most trusted financial service brands 

The study showed that HDFC Group and public sector behemoth State Bank of India were the most trusted Indian financial services brands. New-age, technology-led brands like Paytm and Paypal also featured in the top 10.

Data security 

The report also showed that payment systems were rapidly gaining acceptance with more 91% saying they were positive about them.  With greater availability of payment systems, data security has emerged as a major fear with 25% of the respondents saying they were concerned about their data being stolen.

Business intelligence firm ORC International conducted the research for the FSRI report. It included one-on-one interviews with prominent CEOs/CMOs/CCOs and a survey of 1,000 consumers in each market.

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