Irish crisis hits reputation of high street banks

Stephan Shakespeare
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As the news continues to be dominated by tales of Ireland’s financial woes it seems that all high street financial institutions are being made to suffer.

Two tracking metrics produced by YouGov BrandIndex demonstrate a significant correlation between widely publicised financial crises and significant downturns in the public perception of the high street banks and savings sector.

In the wake of the current bailout crisis the overall BrandIndex “Index” score for the high street banking and savings sector – which combines six measures of brand health including value, reputation and likelihood to recommend – fell to a low of -0.4 on 19 November in comparison to a summer high of 2 in August, though there has been limited recovery since.

This mirrors a trend seen back in April when the Greek bailout crisis dominated the news and the index score reached a low of -0.8.

Moreover, the BrandIndex “Quality” score, which gives a more direct sense of how the public rates the performance of a brand irrespective of its price, and which gives insight into how people think the high street finance firms are performing at their job, has also suffered substantially. From a summer high of 2.8 at the end of August, the “quality” score fell to 0 on the 22 November.

When broken down further, the BrandIndex scores also demonstrate a significant London/UK divide, with current scores amongst Londoners on the 19 November being 3.6 and 0.9 for “quality” and “index” respectively in contrast to 0.4 and -0.4 for the rest of the UK – indicative perhaps of the greater numbers of Londoners working in finance.

Opinion seems to be polarising, with the larger portion of the UK population growing short of patience with the financial industry and judging all by the travails of some.
Stephan Shakespeare is co-founder and chief executive of YouGov.