Sonia Tracy is the content editor for PsPrint and editor of PsPrint Design Blog. PsPrint is an online commercial printing company specializing in brochure printing. You can follow PsPrint on Twitter @PsPrint.
The banking industry has taken a major hit in the public eye during the past decade. But it has not exactly been popular for some time, harboring a dislike that turned to hatred from tired and seemingly exploited people from every country.
With all of that in mind, it isn’t a shock to see a number of banks trying to come out from under this pall. They have been aiming to improve their public image and show a friendlier face to the public, even when there have been no changes to their policies or tactics.
Some banks have gone in the seemingly wrong direction. For example, Bank of America caused outrage recently when it announced it would be charging monthly fees for customers to withdraw or use their own money in checking accounts with debit cards. This attempt to generate profits led to a mass exodus from customers, who instead opened banks with smaller financial institutions. It wasn’t long before BofA announced a cancellation of the plan.
So, do banks have any hope of gaining back the trust of an increasingly angry and cynical public? A few have made a decent attempt and actually seen results.
Chase has managed to get more than 3 million likes on its Community Giving Facebook page. This is a grant program that awards cash to non-profits that help local communities. Through giving back, Chase has been able to establish a line of trust between itself and the customers that were drifting away.
By putting it all on Facebook, Chase further opened the lines of communication. It benefited greatly from social media in this regard, and the sheer number of its supporters speaks volumes.
Chase has so far given more than $600 million in grants in less than five years.
Credit card companies are among the financial institutions that have been generating bad press due to ultra-high interest rates and the way that they target at-risk customers like teens and college students.
But American Express has managed to once again build some trust (and gain more than 2 million likes on Facebook) thanks to its various rewards program, as well as a Small Business Saturday promotion that gives $25 cash back on all small busines purchases of $25 or more on Nov. 26th, in the wake of Black Friday.
The two examples above show that by branching out into wider areas and giving back, they have been able to move past the financial sector stigma and reestablish at least a little bit more trust then they had before.
But whether or not they have been able to start the process, there is a long way to go. Movements such as Occupy Wall Street have shown the frustration of people around the globe with big business in general, with the banks high on the list of untrusted organizations. People are now coming up with alternatives to their use.
There is no doubt that we will be seeing more efforts from the banks, therefore.