After months of turmoil in the US banking sector, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is to survey the public to assess the state of trust in banking.
The regulator wants to establish an annual consumer survey to help monitor public trust in banks, as well as support policymaking, regulation, and bank strategy. It has issued a formal request for information and comment on the planned survey’s scope and uses.
“The public’s trust in banks is an important aspect of a thriving and stable banking system,” the OCC stated in its entry for the request in the Federal Register. “Without trust, banks cannot attract or retain customers, including depositors, or meet the credit needs of the communities they serve.”
The collapses of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank in March, as well as the sale of First Republic Bank to JPMorgan Chase, have given rise to concerns about the impact of rising interest rates on bank balance sheets.
However, recent surveys have indicated that overall trust has not been significantly affected. The National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) has been polling US adults for the past few weeks and found that those who were aware of the banking collapses were more likely to be confident in the ability of the current regulatory system to protect them.
Meanwhile, data and consulting company Kantar found in a separate survey that consumers were more likely to find national banks more trustworthy than regional or local banks. However, trust was higher in the US than the global average, even in the wake of the March collapses.
“The OCC recognizes the public’s trust in banks is an important aspect of a thriving and stable banking system,” the regulator said in a statement. “By surveying the public, the OCC can use the results to identify areas where trust can be further enhanced and gain insight into the many aspects that are important to consider in working to maintain and enhance trust in banking and bank supervision.”
The regulator is seeking input from the public, financial services participants, government agencies, academic organizations, consumer groups, and trade bodies by October 10, 2023.