Trust deficit in banks entrenched in new poll

Ian Rogers Financial institutions / Big five & fintech

"I don’t trust the banks" is a statement with which 61 per cent of people agreed in a piece of advocacy polling publicised this morning, and timed for today's initial hearing of the House economics committee's hearing with a bank chief executive.

And while is a lack of overwhelming support for any Royal Commission into banking, an intervention is backed by 42 per cent in this survey.

The Australia Institute conducted a national poll of 1443 people between 16 September and 28 September.

The topics covered are mostly run of the mill and centred on the debates over any Royal Commission.

The proposition "I don’t trust the banks" is novel, if framed in a manner bound to frustrate some opinion polling experts.

Only 26 per cent agreed with this statement, less than half the proportion on the other side of this fence. Another 23 per cent said they were unsure.

The remainder of the findings in the poll echo the sentiment expressed in responses to the "trust" question and may fall in line with conventional thinking.

Asked for a view on the statement "The banks have been truthful regarding what they knew about scandals revealed by whistleblowers", 59 per cent did not agree while 15 per cent agreed.

Pushed for a response to "Malcolm Turnbull is protecting the banks by refusing to call a Royal Commission", respondents divided on perhaps predictable lines; 56 per cent agreed and 21 per cent did not.

The polling diverged from many similar efforts by putting options for government activism against the banks.

Framed as "What is the strongest action the government could take against the banks?" the Australia Institute poll produced support from 42 per cent for a Royal Commission, much lower than polls by national newspapers this year.

Another 27 per cent nominated a bank tribunal, while nine per cent plugged for "making bank CEOs front an annual government-controlled committee", the political process being rolled out this afternoon.

While The Australia Institute brings left of centre prejudices to its work, the same may not be true of its polling results.

In this survey 56 per cent of Coalition voters agreed with the "I don’t trust the banks" statement. For Labor and Greens voters it was 63 per cent.