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Customers, Bankers Differ in Opinion on Banks

A BAI and Finacle survey shows a gap in sentiment between consumers and bankers, though technology may lead to trust.

Consumers and bankers still don't see eye-to-eye in terms of bank sentiment, though a majority of bank customers who believe their bank is innovative tie those feelings to high-quality or web-based banking and payments services, according to the most recent installment of the biannual BAI and Finacle Index of Bank Sentiment.

The survey measures how consumers view the banking industry and how bank executives think consumers feel about it. With a baseline of 100, consumer sentiment measured 77 on BAI and Finacle's scale, while bank executives came in at 121. Though a 44 point gap, compared to last year's statistics, the gap between bankers and customers has narrowed.

"We believe that the gap in sentiment persists because bankers place more emphasis than consumers on how much progress the industry has made in the past year. What we also see in the research findings is that the confidence consumers have in their primary financial institution continues to fare much better than the aggregated consumer view of the U.S. economy and the banking industry as a whole," said Debbie Bianucci, president and CEO of BAI. "Our latest index shows nearly two thirds of consumers, or 64 percent, agree their primary bank has a good image and reputation. Sixty-two percent say they trust their primary bank; however, 40 percent of respondents said they don’t feel their bank looks out for their interests, which is an area that banks continue to focus on improving."

The survey found that consumers who saw their bank as being more innovative than a competing bank felt better about their bank and were inclined to grow both deposits and their relationship with the bank. A healthy 92 percent of consumers who felt their bank was innovative said their bank offered high quality online or web-based banking and payment services. Further, 93 percent who said their bank was innovative also said it was a bank they trust.

"This study has established the strategic importance of innovation - banks that innovate are the banks trusted by consumers," said Haragopal Mangipudi, global head - Finacle, Infosys Technologies. "As banks continue to aspire to achieve greater consumer intimacy, rapid technology-powered innovation is a potent enabler."

Awareness of services such as remote deposit capture was low, however, with 70 percent of respondents unsure whether their bank offered RDC through a mobile app. Only three percent of Gen Y customers use mobile remote deposit capture with 33 percent saying they would if it were available.

BAI and Finacle surveyed 2,500 U.S. banking customers for the report.

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