SOURCE: Ponemon Institute

Ponemon Institute

October 20, 2009 10:30 ET

Global Financial Crisis Weighs on Results of Ponemon Institute 2009 Most Trusted Companies for Retail Banking Study

Study Finds Recession, Breaches, Rumors Erode Trust; Stability, Service, Customer Respect Buoy Trust

TRAVERSE CITY, MI--(Marketwire - October 20, 2009) - Privacy and information management research firm the Ponemon Institute has announced the results of its annual study of consumer trust in banks. Now in its seventh year, the 2009 Privacy Trust Study for Retail Banking measures consumer perceptions of trustworthiness for retail banking institutes and identifies the issues that influence consumer opinion.

The specter of the global financial crisis had clear and negative consequences on this year's results, reflected by a second straight overall decline in trust scores. Other factors, such as data breaches, rumors related to poor security practice, annoying advertising campaigns, poor web site design, and aggressive use of data coupled with offshore data management were also found to have a detrimental effect on perception.

In contrast to the downward trend, however, five of the six banks earning a top-five ranking improved their scores over 2008. The factors seen to have a positive effect on a bank's brand included perceived financial stability, quality customer service, clear privacy and security practice disclosures, strong online banking identity and authentication processes, stated or implied commitment to stand behind the customer in case of a breach or identity theft, and respectful advertising and marketing campaigns.

For the fourth year in a row, U.S. Bank earned the highest overall trust ranking. According to the Ponemon Institute, the five most trusted banks for privacy in 2009 are:

           2009                                    2008

1.  U.S. Bank (Minneapolis)           1.  U.S. Bank (Minneapolis)
2.  PNC Bank (Pittsburgh)             2.  National City (Cleveland)
3.  SunTrust (Atlanta)                3.  SunTrust (Atlanta)
4.  Citizens Bank (Providence)        4.  PNC Bank (Pittsburgh)
5.  Bank of America (Charlotte)       4.  Citizens Bank (Providence)
5.  Fifth Third Bank (Cincinnati)     5.  Wachovia (Charlotte)

"We were not surprised to see an overall decline in trust scores owing to the global financial crisis, but the increased trust scores earned by the top banks show that there are many aspects of trust that are absolutely within a bank's ability to control," said Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder, Ponemon Institute. "Those banks that consistently appear at the top of this study, including U.S. Bank's fourth straight number one ranking, are not there accidentally, but have earned their place through a determined effort to apply sound security and privacy practices to their overall business strategy."

"Earning our customers' trust is fundamental to sustaining a meaningful relationship with them, and trust is particularly important in challenging economic times," said Dan Burks, chief privacy officer at U.S. Bank. "The work of the Ponemon Institute to recognize leading institutions provides a great service to consumers as they seek trusted financial partners."

The 2009 Privacy Trust Study for Retail Banking was derived from a final sample of 6,950 surveys returned from adult consumers residing in all geographic regions of the United States. To request a copy of the study, contact the Ponemon Institute.

About the Ponemon Institute:

The Ponemon Institute© is dedicated to advancing responsible information and privacy management practices in business and government. To achieve this objective, the Institute conducts independent research, educates leaders from the private and public sectors, and verifies the privacy and data protection practices of organizations in a variety of industries.

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