Thought Leadership

It’s Not Time for Banks to Be Silent

March 22, 2023

SVB and Signature Bank are gone, but their collapse has left a legacy that will long impact the industry. There will undoubtedly be major pushes for regulatory changes. Just days after the news broke, legislation had been filed to restore Dodd-Frank Act restrictions on banks with over $50 billion in assets, undoing the changes Republicans’ made in 2018. Outside of legislative changes, there is also new, significant pressure on regional banks.

This building pressure means it’s not the time for banks to be quiet. With Moody’s downgrade of the US banking sector and discussions of which bank might fall next dominating the news cycle, we’re in a negative trust environment. People are scared. And through our years of research in the financial services space, we know that trust is THE most important factor to building and maintaining successful relationship with your customers—particularly in rough times. Regional banks need to double down on marketing and advertising right now to demonstrate trust, safety and security.

At Escalent, we’ve talked about trust time and time again and its importance in building brands that can withstand the test of time. It’s not that we’ve never gotten pushback that trust is important. But it’s pretty easy during times of growth to say, “yes, trust is important, but what about X?” and invest time and attention on new products, new services and new potential lines of business. But in the negative trust environment we’re in, banks can’t assume they have that trust anymore because frankly, they don’t.

I’ve spoken to some of our banking clients and prospects and what I’m telling them is to speak up now. Spend your ad dollars you had earmarked for July now. Make yourself a part of the conversation so your customers don’t worry that you won’t be around tomorrow or the next day. Then? Talk to us. Send us an email, fill out a form, watch our webinar on the science behind trust, and read our blog on how to build trust. While what’s ahead may not be like 2008 and 2009 as it cascades through all sectors of life, this is still an event that needs to be contained. And the first step in containing it is for financial institutions to step up and ensure that consumers don’t lose all faith and trust.

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Christopher Barnes
Christopher Barnes

Chris Barnes is president of Escalent. He has a deep background in market and public opinion research, including co-founding the Center for Survey Research and Analysis at the University of Connecticut where he led ongoing studies on the business climate presented to regional economists quarterly. He has led studies for many of the nation’s top companies in insurance, banking, wealth and health insurance sectors. His studies have appeared frequently in the national media, including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times and Time cover stories. Chris earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Kenyon College and a master's degree in political science with a concentration in survey research at the University of Connecticut.