We've asked SMEs whether banks have learned a lesson since the 2008 global financial crisis
It's been almost 10 years since the world went through the pain of the global financial crisis. Banks needed to be bailed out by the government using taxpayers' money. And the financial services industry lost the trust and credibility with customers that it had built over a period of time.
How do UK businesses judge banks' behaviour a decade on?
A quarter of SMEs don't see positive change ten years on
A quarter (24%) of UK SMEs believe that banks have failed to change the way they behave since the global financial crisis in 2008. Even more concerning is that over half (55%) of the senior executives we've surveyed believe that it is not a priority for banks to act in a ‘civilised' manner.
Where does this negative view come from? Some of the reasons business decision makers give are the continued closure of branches, poor customer service and an emphasis on profits before service. Indeed, one executive stated that bank staff are pressured to make short-term sales to boost low basic salaries, rather than focusing on long-term business development and client relationships. Another concluded, that the old culture of banking has gone out of the window.
Is all lost when it comes to banks' behaviour?
Not all seems lost when it comes to banks' behaviour but the picture is still gloomy:
Over four fifths (82%) of UK SMEs think that banks behaved in a ‘civilised' way at least some of the time, while 3% believe that banks never behave in a ‘civilised' way. In fact, only 8% of UK businesses believe banks operate in a ‘civilised' way all the time.
Despite this, almost three quarters (73%) of decision makers agree that they would consider a bank that behaves in a 'civilised' way, over others that don't. This confirms that business executives would still like to see bank conduct improve, and indeed that they'd value ‘civilised' behaviour in banks.
How civilised do businesses behave themselves?
Meanwhile, almost a third (32%) of UK SMEs are actively taking steps to make their business more civilised:
- Some 13% are placing a particular focus on being more ‘hands on' with their customers so that they can develop meaningful, long-term relationships.
- Over half of SMEs (59%) selected ‘fair treatment of customers' as representing what being civilised means to their business.
- Being a ‘responsible employer' was chosen by 38% of businesses.
- Having ‘strong relationships with customers' (37%) also ranked highly.
Only 7% said that making their business more civilised was not a priority.
Yes, UK SMEs want their banks to behave in a ‘civilised' manner
Over two fifths (46%) of SMEs think it is extremely important for their suppliers and partners to act in a civilised way.
It's clear that being civilised is important to UK SME executives in how they conduct their business. No wonder they would like to see the same approach from their business banks.
Download infographic: Bad Students? Businesses judge Banks’ Behaviour 10 years on from the Financial Crisis
Keep updated about our progress towards launching CivilisedBank in early 2018.
Field work: 11th to 18th October 2017, online survey of 501 Senior Decision Makers within UK SMEs through Opinium Research.