Banks Rebuilding Positive Image

Posted on October 10, 2017 by Laura Lam

gallup poll banks 2017The banking industry’s image with the American public has climbed to its highest point since the 2008 financial meltdown, with 43% now viewing it positively and 30% negatively. But Americans still view banking less positively than they did in the years leading up to the crisis, when it ranked above the average for other industries Gallup measures.

The public’s net positive rating of banking — the percentage with a positive view minus the percentage with a negative view of it — slid from +32 in 2007 to -23 in 2009, and bottomed out at -28 in 2010 and 2012. This year’s +13 rating, an increase of 11 points from 2016, is the industry’s highest since 2007. But the current rating is still well below the +29 net positive that banking averaged from 2001 through 2007.

During that period, the banking industry’s net positive rating was higher than Gallup’s industry-wide average. But since 2009, banking has been below the industry average every year. In contrast to banking, the images of most other major industries (oil and gas, airline, auto and real estate) that suffered serious damage in the financially tumultuous years from 2008 through 2010 have either regained their pre-recession net positive ratings or surpassed them.

Though Americans overall have become more positive in their views of the banking industry during the past 2 years, views of upper-income Americans have been in negative territory, with a -7 net positive rating in 2016-2017. Offsetting the upper-income negativity, net positive ratings among middle-income Americans have made impressive gains, from -4 in 2014-2015 to +20 for the last two years, while the views of those with lower incomes have stayed roughly the same.

Before the 2008 financial crisis, middle-income Americans’ views of the banking industry were similar to those of upper-income Americans. In the years immediately afterward, upper-income Americans turned sour on banking to a far greater extent than did those with lower incomes; and in 2016-2017, the middle-income group continues to be significantly more positive about the industry than those with higher incomes.

Source: Gallup