New Research Uncovers Consumer Attitudes to Financial Services

By The Read Group, PRNE
Wednesday, May 11, 2011

LONDON, May 12, 2011 - A study into how consumers perceive marketing by Financial
Services providers has uncovered some interesting findings at a time when
trust in the sector is at an all time low. Commissioned by The REaD Group
plc, the Financial Services | REaD Report could help Financial Services
marketers to make efficient use of their resources in the post recession

87% of the 2,330 consumers surveyed had a bank account, making
it the most popular financial product in the group and a whopping 68% of
consumers said they had a Paypal account. However, after a series of blows to
the Pension market and the near collapse of the US Mortgage market, Pensions,
Mortgages, Investments, Loans and Income Replacement products did not fare so
well with consumers. Worryingly, only 39% of the sample (a mere 1.67 million
UK adults) have a Pension, and only 31% have a Mortgage.

According to the report, High Street banking giants Lloyds
TSB, Halifax, Santander, NatWest & Barclays are the most popular financial
services consumer brands. The report also identified that Tesco, the UK's
biggest retail group with a brand value of $25.7bn, was the 8th most popular
Financial Services provider with consumers.

Although the report indicated that challenger brands like
Tesco Finance are gaining ground on traditional Financial Services brands,
progress is still slow. Only 6% of consumers had a Financial Services
relationship with Sainsbury's, 3% had a relationship with Asda and only 1% of
the sample had a relationship with John Lewis' Greenbee.

Following a series of dramatic data losses across the sector,
the Financial Services | REaD Report reveals that Independent Financial
Advisors are the most trusted provider by consumers followed by Bank and
Building Societies and then Supermarkets. In comparison, the least trusted
organisations were Lenders, Credit Card Companies and Comparison Sites.

For businesses hoping to improve brand image and rebuild
consumer trust in a fragile economic climate, the consequences of rolling out
a poorly targeted campaign could have serious financial implications as well
as causing brand damage. 43% of consumers said they'd let a Financial
Services brand know if one of their MarComms missed the mark but 18% said it
would negatively effect their opinion of the brand, 13% said they would be
less likely to use the brand's products and services in future and 4% said
that they would never use the brand's services again. This is equivalent to
15.05 million adult consumers in the UK with a negative impression of a

Finally, 24% of consumers said they would complain to the
Financial Services Authority if they had a problem regarding a provider's
marketing practice, while 20% stated that they would take their concerns to
the Financial Ombudsman Service.

At a glance:

- Credit Cards and Loan companies are considered to be the
worst marketers in terms of relevance and data

- Banking and Pension providers are seen as having more relevant
and correctly targeted marketing

- Consumers prefer to receive Direct Mail and Email marketing
communications from companies they have an existing relationship with.
This is split by gender with females preferring postal DM and males
preferring email

- AA were the top 'Insurance Only' organisation

- MBNA were the top 'Credit Card Only' organisation

- Admiral appears to have a younger audience whereas Alliance &
Leicester has an older audience

Mark Roy, CEO of the REaD Group plc comments, "Unlike bonds or shares,
trust cannot be bought and Financial Services providers must make radical
changes to the way they treat consumers if they are to rebuild reputations
and restore confidence. At the heart of this recovery must sit a legitimate,
transparent and respectful relationship with customers, underpinned by
carefully considered MarComms and best practice.

The REaD Group's latest research on Financial Services shows a clear link
between campaign quality and consumer perceptions."

To download the report please visit

    For graphics and enquiries contact:

    Elise Rappoport
    T +44(0)1732-467955
    M +44(0)7967-327155

    Jade Newman


will not be displayed