A new poll has found that two-thirds of Britons still don’t trust their banks, a decade after the financial crash.
The survey by YouGov for campaign group Positive Money also revealed that the public feel the banks ‘should have faced more severe penalties for their part in the financial crisis’ and are concerned ‘that the banks may cause another financial crisis’.
The results have been published just weeks before the 10th anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers in America. It was the trigger for the world financial crisis which saw Britain’s government forced to step in to bail out some of the biggest financial institutions in the country and sparked one of the deepest recessions in living memory.
The report revealed that 66% of the 2,250 adults questioned said they did not trust the banks to work in the best interests of British society and 72% believed they should have faced more severe penalties for their part in what happened.
Asked about their concerns for the future, 63% said they were either very worried or fairly worried that the banks may cause another crisis.
Lawrence White of Reuters commented: “Banks globally have paid the price financially and reputationally, paying out more than $320 billion in fines since 2008 as regulators probed them for mis-selling securities and rigging interest rate and foreign exchange rate benchmarks.
“They have also undergone a series of reforms and been subject to stronger regulation, increasing levels of capital banks hold, separating depositors’ money from riskier investment banking activity, and making senior bankers more accountable.
Nothing has really changed
Positive Money executive director Fran Boait said: “Despite the financial sector’s complacency, people know that nothing has really changed since the last crisis. As in the run-up to the 2008 crash, banks are still making most of their money from gambling on property and other financial assets, paying themselves huge bonuses while things have got worse for everyone else.
“The tenth anniversary of the crisis must be an opportunity to change the banking sector so it works in the best interests of society. This may be the only way to avoid another financial crisis, that so many Britons fear.”
A spokesman for UK Finance which represents the banking industry said, “The finance sector takes its responsibility to wider society extremely seriously and has undertaken significant reform in the last 10 years to ensure that the taxpayer should never need to bail out a bank again.”
Positive Money is a not-for-profit company funded by charitable trusts and foundations. Set up in the aftermath of the financial crisis, it campaigns for a money and banking system which supports a fair, democratic and sustainable economy.
““Yet despite years of restructuring and paying fines and compensation for misbehaviour, the survey underlines the extent to which banks still have to work to rebuild trust.” “