Fairbanking mark in bid to restore trust

Research company Ipsos Mori has linked up with with not-for-profit company Fairbanking Foundation to launch a financial services quality standard in a bid to to re-establish trust in banks and other financial services firms.

The fairbanking mark, similar to the Fairtrade standard on food, launched this week alongside an award ceremony for firms that offer retail banking products which deliver customer benefits.

The fairbanking mark awards three, four or five stars for products that deliver “financial wellbeing”.

Royal Bank of Scotland and Natwest, Saffron Building Society, Secure Trust Bank and Think Banking are the first institutions to be awarded the fairbanking mark, with all receiving three stars this week.

RBS has received the mark for its online savings tool, Saffron Building Society for its online savings account and Secure Trust Bank and Think Banking for current accounts.

Ipsos Mori head of financial services Charles Adriaenssens says: “Trust in banks and financial services is at an all-time low, driven by a combination of negative news stories and the banks’ behaviour towards their customers. The fairbanking mark has the potential to re-establish consumer confidence in retail banking.

“Credible marks have been found to be independent, transparent and clearly communicated and, provided Fairbanking follows suit, this could have a positive impact on consumer behaviour in the financial service market.”

But Chadney Bulgin IFAs mortgage partner Jonathan Clark says: “I am not sure industry awards carry any weight with the public. Consumers will pay far more attention to this week’s Panorama investigation of high-street bank staff, which will do far more damage than the good these awards will do.”