Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Banking sector reputation hits rock bottom

September 2009

The banking sector is suffering the worst reputation of all industries thanks to the financial crisis, jobs cuts and its stance on tax issues.

Data from the ethical rating company Covalence ranks banks 18th out of the 18 sectors it analyses, showing that for the first time since its records began in 2001 the industry in Europe and the US generated most of the negative media coverage.

Unfavourable news about the economic impact of the banking sector and the effect of its ‘downsizing’ have been the main contributors to the undermining of banks’ ethical credentials during the past year.

Other issues such as banks’ perceived poor performance on corruption and their role in tax avoidance have also damaged their reputations.

The sector outperformed other sectors only in ‘social sponsorship’, the sole ethical category in which they received a largely positive press.

The top four banks in Covalence’s ethical ranking are HSBC, Barclays, Bank of America and Royal Bank of Canada. The laggards are Royal Bank of Scotland, Citigroup and UBS.

Covalence | Global | Benchmarking


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