Minneapolis, Minnesota-based U.S. Bank is the most trusted bank in the nation, according to Ponemon Institute's annual Privacy Trust Study for Retail Banking for 2011. The report found that average privacy trust scores for retail banks declined in 2011 from 2010, the institute said in a statement, most likely because of the economic crisis. However, most of the consumer participating in the study still thought that their bank was committed to protecting their personal financial information.
U.S. Bank, the reigning champion, returned to the number one spot in the report as the most trusted retail bank for the sixth year in a row. The report ranked Cincinnati, Ohio-based Fifth Third Bank second, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based PNC Bank third, Providence, Rhode Island-based Citizens Bank fourth, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based BB&T and Ally Bank of Detroit, Michigan tied for the fifth spot.
The annual study from Ponemon Institute, a privacy and information security researcher, looked at how retail banks are addressing concerns around privacy and data security and how that translates to consumer trust in banks. The researcher found specific contributing factors to a trusted bank-customer relationship: the bank's finical stability, the quality of customer service, a respectful advertising approach with easy opt-outs, stringent online identity authentication, and a stated commitment to the customer in case of identity theft or similar crimes.
"Customer trust and loyalty in retail banks is dependent upon the perception that the institution is taking every measure to protect their personal information," Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of Ponemon Institute, said in the organization's statement. "As revealed in this and past studies, a significant number of customers will abandon their relationship with their bank if their personal information is lost or stolen.
The study was conducted by Ponemon Institute last December and January and included the results of 5,571 surveys from U.S. customers.