A new annual survey commissioned by the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) shows that consumers have a high level of trust in Singapore banks.

The Banking Trust Index for Singapore (BTIS) was established to understand consumers’ trust in banks and areas where banks could improve. The survey, conducted by Edelman Data & Intelligence, is the first standardised means of measuring public trust towards banks in Singapore and will be conducted annually moving forward.

The inaugural survey took the views of more than 3,500 Singapore residents and involved 15 participating banks. 

The results show that the banking industry achieved an Edelman Net Trust Score (ENTS) of 56, which represents a score in the upper quartile. 

63% of respondents had high trust in the banks, with 7% of the respondents having low trust, while the remaining 30% of the respondents were moderate in their views.

The respondents’ trust in banks was positively influenced by banks’ ability to offer a variety of products and services, use reliable and innovative technologies and stay financially resilient. They also trusted banks to handle customers’ data with integrity, and their leadership and employees to operate with professionalism and ethics.

However, the survey results also suggested areas for improvement, with respondents looking to banks to be more forthcoming in acknowledging mistakes, take accountability for the conduct of their employees and adopt measures to ensure that mistakes do not recur. 

The banks’ ability to demonstrate customer importance as well create societal impact beyond the provision of banking products and services were also highlighted as areas of improvement.

Pursuant to the BTIS results, ABS has identified follow-up actions to promote a customer-focused culture within the banking industry including guidelines and frameworks for enhancing accountability and prioritising customer interests.

Samuel Tsien, Chairman of ABS and Group CEO of OCBC Bank, says, “The strong reputation of Singapore banks must be sustained through continuous commitment towards raising the culture and conduct standards with deliberate efforts as well as structured and robust frameworks. We will continue to work with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to ensure that this trust will never be misplaced.”

Ravi Menon, Managing Director of MAS, reiterated the importance of trust for the banks.

 “Trust is the most valuable currency for a financial institution. It is earned through right conduct – serving customers with integrity, fairness, and transparency. I am heartened that our banks have reached out to the public to understand their level of trust and identify areas for improvement, and have published the results,” he says.

"MAS is pleased that the survey indicates a high level of trust in our banks – this is a valuable commodity that the industry must preserve.  The report has also highlighted several areas where the banks can do better, to further strengthen public trust. MAS will work with the banks on these areas and support their efforts to raise standards of culture and conduct," he adds.