August 16, 2011

For a survey commissioned by McLean, Va.-based strategy and technology consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, market research firm Zogby International polled 2,160 U.S. adults last July about their concerns and expectations regarding security in the banking industry. The results show that the majority of consumers rate the securing of their financial information online as the most important banking service, with 71 percent of respondents saying they believe a bank's top focus should be on e-banking security.

The consumers surveyed even put security before convenience, with 78 percent of them saying they're willing to provide an additional level of authentication before accessing their account information online if that would increase protection from threats. The results also indicated that 66 percent of respondents believe banks, not government, are most accountable for protecting customer financial assets online.

"This survey shows, when it comes to online banking, people value security over speed and that they are holding their banks and investment institutions responsible for the safety of their electronic banking transactions and financial data," said Bill Wansley, senior vice president of Booz Allen Hamilton, in a statement released with the poll results. News of recent cyber security breaches that have put financial information at risk is part of what's causing consumer concern and caution. Twenty-one percent of those surveyed say that such information has caused them to change the way they access bank or retirement accounts or interact with financial institutions. In addition, 42 percent of respondents say that if a cyber security breach were to occur at their current bank, they'd be likely or very likely to switch financial institutions.

"Banking and investment institutions face attempted attacks every day from persistent cyber hackers, and the ability to prevent intrusions and immediately respond to any successful attack is critical for the stability of financial institutions," said Wansley. "It's clear that consumers are aware, concerned and reacting to this spectre of cyber attacks in the realm of their personal finances."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR