Consumers Believe Credit Unions Have the Best Reputation

In April 2012, Prime Performance asked over 5,000 U.S. consumers to rate the reputation of business sectors. Each consumer was randomly asked to rate the reputation of 5 out of 34 sectors using a scale of 1 to 7 where 1 is a very bad reputation and 7 is a very good reputation. Excluding sectors which the consumers said they were not familiar, consumers gave over 23,000 ratings.

Credit unions top all business sectors in reputation with an average reputation score of 5.78, followed by grocery stores, 5.50, and community banks, 5.40. Regional banks came in 7th at 5.04 and national banks 18th at 4.15. When asked to rate the banking industry consumers gave it an average score of 3.98, ranking 24th. The bottom 5 sectors are: the mortgage industry, 3.35; the federal government, 3.30; oil and gas industry, 3.26; Wall Street firms, 3.09; tobacco industry, 2.71.

Surveys have shown that the banking industry has a bad reputation, but most customers like their bank. In this survey we wanted to see how consumers rate the reputation of the banking industry when it is broken into smaller sectors. We also wanted to find out how these financial sectors compared to non-financial sectors.

Even though the banking industry rated 24th out of 34 sectors, a majority of the industry has a good reputation. Community banks and regional banks rated in the top 10 sectors. Even national banks rated 18th. There may be a lesson in this for banks and bankers. Defining yourself as part of the banking industry may not help win over potential customers. With only a few exceptions, banks can position themselves as either a community or regional bank. This may be a wise move from a brand and marketing perspective, and might also make for more pleasant conversations with friends and family.