Banks already bouncing back from a disastrous year

 
Stephan Shakespeare
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LAST year will be remembered as a terrible one for the banking industry. In previous articles I have described the wider impact scandals such as Libor-rigging had on the reputation of the industry as a whole.

However, 2013 is a new year and consumer perception could be looking up for the likes of Barclays and NatWest.

Looking to BrandIndex, we can see that throughout 2012 the reputations of most banks were tarnished by the furore surrounding Libor.

The Index score – a daily measure that averages across a range of ratings including quality, satisfaction and reputation – for both Lloyds and HSBC took a hit following Barclays’ record £290m fine for attempting to manipulate Libor.

At the end of June, Lloyds TSB and HSBC had scores of -2.4 and 4.4 respectively. By mid-August, Lloyds’ score had fallen to -9.9 and HSBC’s score to -6.7.

Comparatively, NatWest – having suffered a technical glitch shortly before the Libor scandal broke – lost around 14 points and fell as low as -14.4, whereas Barclays’ score fell as low as -25.1.

To put this into context, BP, at the height of its oil spill disaster in mid-2010, fell to -19 for its Index reading.

And Starbucks’ Index score, following controversy surrounding its tax arrangements, is currently resting at -20. So it is clear that both Barclays and NatWest had considerable ground to cover over the last six months in the eyes of consumers.

The data illustrates that the banking industry can afford some optimism. HSBC and Lloyds have finished 2012 within points of their January scores. Even NatWest has recouped its former standing within the sector. Barclays, having started 2012 with -2.1 points, fnished the year with -5.8.

Such a recovery from the depths of August is impressive and, should it continue, could enable Barclays to see 2013 as a fresh start.

Stephan Shakespeare is the chief executive of YouGov