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Public Respect for Banks Lower than Ever: New Poll

14 October 2011 - As the Occupy Wall Street protests continue, public respect for the banking sector has reached a new low in the US and UK, according to new polling research released by GlobeScan today.

GlobeScan polled 500 adults each in the UK and US as part of the annual GlobeScan Radar 24-country global public opinion study on business and its role in society.

The findings show that a majority of Americans (55%) now say they have “little” or “no” respect for the banking sector. Banks are even more poorly viewed in the UK, where 63% say they have little or no respect for them.

This represents a steep decline in public respect for the banks since 2005, when just 25% of Americans and 36% of Britons said they had no respect for them, and 38% of Americans and 31% of Britons said they had “a great deal” or “some” respect for them. The consequences of the banking crisis of 2008, which are only now becoming fully apparent, seem to have accelerated this loss of public esteem over the past year.

In contrast to the sector’s declining reputation in the UK and US, respect for the banking industry remains strong in India and China.


As the financial sector’s reputation among the public worsens, there appear to be increasing calls for governments to step in and regulate it more closely. GlobeScan found in 2010 that two-thirds of Britons (66%) felt that there was insufficient government regulation of the banking sector—higher than in any other country polled. But nearly half of Americans (48%) also felt that banks needed to be more tightly regulated.

GlobeScan surveyed 23,566 adults in 24 countries by telephone between July 3 and September 10. Findings are subject to a within-country sample error of +/-3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

GlobeScan Senior Vice-President Chris Coulter commented: “It’s clear that a major societal backlash against the banks is underway, and that the Occupy Wall Street protestors have tapped into it. The public is really starting to wonder whose side the banks are on.

“But this crisis is also an opportunity for banks to redefine a new social purpose for themselves—one where everyone benefits. Only time will tell whether they can rise to the occasion.”


For more information, please contact:

Sam Mountford, Research Director
GlobeScan Incorporated, London
+44 20 7928 5368
(Mobile: +44 7854 132625)
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About GlobeScan

GlobeScan is an international opinion research consultancy. Companies, multilateral institutions, governments, and NGOs trust GlobeScan for its unique expertise in reputation research, sustainability, and issues management. GlobeScan provides global organizations with evidence-based insight and advice to help them build strong brands, manage relations with key stakeholders, and define their strategic positioning. GlobeScan conducts research in over 90 countries, is certified to the ISO 9001:2008 standard for its quality management system, and is a signatory to the UN Global Compact. Established in 1987, GlobeScan is an independent, management-owned company with offices in London, Toronto, and San Francisco. www.globescan.com

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