Dipping into the sea of public opinion to analyse perceptions of the banking culture is an expectantly gruelling process. It was never going to be positive, although it’s not as gruelling compared to some of the comments that were made during The Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards in 2012;
“The professions may not be paragons but they do at least espouse a strong duty of trust, both towards clients and towards upholding the reputation of the profession as a whole. In contrast… banking culture has all too often been characterised by an absence of any sense of duty to the customer and a similar absence of any sense of collective responsibility to uphold the reputation of the industry”. Ouch.
Following the Commission’s report in 2013 a new wave of change now sweeps across the industry, with the newly established Banking Standards Board tasked with promoting a high standard of behaviour and competence across the UK banking industry (Chief Executive, Alison Cottrell is speaking at our upcoming Future of Financial Services Conference on the 2nd June 2015 – tickets available here).
Lansons has a number of digital specialists continuously monitoring social media for emerging issues; including the perception of banking. Unsurprisingly, the most influential Twitter users discussing bank related matters are newspapers, political parties and prominent organisations such as British Airways. Using Klout scores is certainly not a fool proof method of rating influence online; as this article in Wired explains (you need to take real-world influence into account). However, Klout does show that in terms of online share of voice, it’s a big mistake to dismiss newspapers.
This information has been gathered from January 2015 – April 2015 (before the sharp increase of election tweets). The wheel infographic to the right represents a collection of 60,137 tweets from conversations about banking. The inner circle shows the words mentioned most frequently which are then segregated into more specific topics and phrases. In summary:
This word encapsulates the primary focus of our search; the public perception of banking culture. Unfortunately it includes scathing references to “Eton Old Boys”. The word “bonus” which has become synonymous with banking features in conversations about public sector cuts and the ‘benefits culture’. There are also phrases featured closely with campaign groups – Eg. “Tories just stole all public land/property for the Bankers”.
Trust is not only featured in chatter around the Carroll Trust fraud case but also in relation to George Osborne’s pre-election warning that “Deutsche Bank warn of chaos of Labour government. Trust them, they know.”
Bad, Good and Bank Account
This captures personal comments from Twitter users about their bank balance or shopping excursions; unrelated from bank culture and an insight into the buying behaviours of the public. With a larger and more targeted dataset these conversations could indicate periods of credit and debit booms.
Clearly this is just a small snapshot of a much wider debate around the culture of banking in the UK. It is a glimpse into the task ahead for the Banking Standards Board and their march towards industry professionalism.
This blog post provides a social media snapshot of the public perception of banking on Twitter. For similar insights and deeper discussion, consider attending Lansons’ Future of Financial Services Conference on the 2nd June 2015 to hear Chief Executive of the Banking Standards Board, Alison Cottrell, talk about the culture of banking – along with other prominent industry leaders.