How sustainable do Germans believe their financial services providers are? Research among more than 3,000 German citizens aged 18 and over shows that instalment lenders perform better than full banks: the top 3 financial service providers that are perceived as being the most sustainable are easyCredit, Volksbanken-Raiffeisenbanken, as well as ING-DiBa.
Munich, 18 November 2016 — Eight years after the banking crisis, the requirements for sustainable corporate strategies and financial products have clearly increased: customers pay more attention to whether their financial services provider reliably supports sustainability. Establishing an image of positive sustainability is thus essential for financial institutions. It is even more important for the financial sector to critically check the environmental balance of its products, demonstrate social commitment and be transparent in its communication with its customers.
The current study, "Turning the Page", by the Munich research institute, Facit Research, shows that this is still a challenge for the financial sector: for all companies considered in the investigation there was a need for action, particularly in customer loyalty, as they do not fully exploit the potential of their sustainability image. The ten German financial service providers with the highest current media spends were analysed (the ten companies that invested the most in communication measures).
The more than 3,000 surveyed consumers rated easyCredit as the most sustainable. The instalment lender ranked first with 69.23 index points, closely followed by the Volks- and Raiffeisenbanken with 69.19 and ING-DiBa with 68.87 index points. Postbank and Deutsche Bank landed in the last two places. The instalment lenders Targobank and Santander landed in fifth and sixth place respectively - and therefore in the midrange of the ranking.
In the opinion of the respondents, the greatest influences on the sustainability image of the financial sector were environmental issues, such as investment products and the commitment to environmental protection themes, followed by social aspects, such as the fair handling of customer complaints and charitable engagement. The image of financial services providers is therefore characterised by a healthy mix of environmental, economic and social drivers.
There is quite a bit of evidence that the topic of sustainability will increase in importance in the financial sector in the coming years. Financial service providers can credibly strengthen customer loyalty with the topic of sustainability. This is best achieved if environmental, economic and social facets are as positioned as evenly as possible. Particularly in the area of environmental sustainability, there is still a need for action at many companies.
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