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Consumer Surveys Tell Big Banks: You Need To Do Better

"The big banks' multibillion-dollar campaigns aren't moving the needle on the favorability meter because they continue to stick consumers and Main Street businesses with unfair, hidden fees," says Doug Kantor, a lawyer with the MPC. "With good reason, Americans still do not trust big banks."

The coalition cites data from its own survey in 2010, when retailers as well as consumers viewed credit card fees as onerous. The group also notes that U.S. banking consumers pay eight times more than their European counterparts.

Then there's a GoBank survey released last week that shows Americans are clearly growing frustrated with large financial institutions:
  • 64% of consumers surveyed say they do not fully trust big banks.
  • 87% of bank customers say they do not feel their bank is transparent, and 68% do not perceive their bank as being "on their side."
  • 30% say they are surprised by unexpected bank fees, and 31% claim their bank's fees are simply unfair.
  • 40% say that dealing with their bank or finances stresses them out sometimes.

Banks may have a bigger problem on their hands.

When asked who could build a better banking model, survey respondents said Silicon Valley would do a better job than Wall Street.

"Historically, traditional bank accounts have complex fees that favor the institutions, not their customers," says Lewis Goodwin, CEO of Green Dot Bank (GDOT - Get Report), the parent company of GoBank). "We believe people are hungry for more transparency and innovative features from their bank ... the kind they often get from tech companies."

Throw into the mix that Americans' trust in American banks stands at a paltry 21%, and it's apparent the traditional banking model is in big trouble.

Since it's not obvious what banks are doing to win back that trust, time will only tell if the "trust" issue is resolvable for big financial institutions. But the snapshots taken by the coalition and Go Bank show the industry has a long road ahead, with no guarantees consumers will be along for the ride.
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