Confidence you can bank on

Consumer confidence in high street banks is on the rise

Emma Dalton

We’re currently living through arguably one of the most uncertain times that many of us have experienced. In the past twelve months, we’ve faced the shock results of the Brexit vote and across the pond, the election of Trump. Recent general election uncertainties and the horrific terrorist attacks further exacerbate feelings of chaos, turmoil and upheaval, leaving many of us wondering what the rest of 2017 will bring.

Outside of our own private bubbles of close family and friends; who do we count on and trust?

We’re bombarded by reports in the media telling us that the debt of British households is at an all time high and house prices have fallen for the third month in a row, despite reports that 1 in 4 mortgages this year will be financed by the bank of mum and dad. On top of these reports, we’re awaiting the outcome of the election, wondering how the outcome might affect us as individuals and the economy as a whole. So, in whom does our confidence lie when it comes to the current economic outlook? And specifically, who do we think is responsible for the current economic outlook in the UK?

Harris Interactive has tracked some of these questions over a number of years now and we recently asked these questions again to a sample of 1,952 individuals in the UK.


Consumer confidence in high street banks is on the rise

We’re seeing that whilst confidence in the Bank of England and the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) has dipped, confidence in high street banks is continuing to rise.


At the other end of the scale, the government perform less well with 39% of people saying they have ‘very little’ confidence in them. Credit card companies and insurance companies fare similarly, with 30% of those surveyed claiming to have very little confidence in them.

In a slightly different question where we also asked who do people trust; results show a similar picture with people most likely to trust their own bank (53%), the BBC (40%), price comparison websites (39%) and the Bank of England (38%). This drops to 22% for the government and credit card companies, and 21% for insurance and investment/pensions companies.

We asked which words people would use to describe how financial institutions in general make them feel. The most prominent feelings held are negative (62% overall) with 27% of people saying they feel sceptical towards them, 23% saying they make them feel powerless and 20% frustrated. In stark contrast, we had a total of only 35% saying that financial institutions made them feel positive, the highest of which was around 1 in 10 saying that financial institutions make them feel secure and satisfied. Even though perceptions have improved greatly since we started tracking this data post the financial crisis of 2008, there is clearly still room for improvement here.

Finally, we asked who was responsible for the current economic outlook in the UK and results were surprising.

Our results clearly show that the UK population feel we are all responsible for the economic outlook, in other words we all have a part to play in ensuring that the future is shaped and determined by us. This is refreshing in the current blame culture, but what can we do to boost this as individuals and importantly what can financial institutions do to help support and steer the outlook for all of us? In times of great uncertainty and challenges the UK has a habit of pulling together when it matters time and time again. Are we about to do the same again?

This data was taken from the Harris Interactive Perceptions of Industry study, carried out with 1952 nat rep individuals using the Harris Interactive omnibus – 30th May to 2nd June, 2017.

Other sources:

  1. ‘Debt of British households at an all time high’ : according to analysts at the Trade Union Congress (TUC)
  2. ‘House prices have fallen for the third month in a row’ : according to Nationwide, the UK’s biggest building society
  3. ‘1 in 4 mortgages will be financed by the bank of mum and dad this year’ – according to research from Legal & General and financial services group Cebr

  • Banking
  • Confidence