"I don't like any of the major banks. They open up after I go to work. They close before I finish my work. And while they have record profits, their pens are always out of ink and chained to the desk. The environment is impersonal and so transactional."
This focus group, of course, was in the pre-internet banking era.
But still today, brands from the banking industry rank among the lowest of all industries. The average Canadian banking brand according to 5 years of data I have collected on www.BrandMojo.org fares only slightly better than tobacco and energy brands- and about the same as telecom brands.
This is a shame. Banks should not anywhere close to brands that kill and pollute.
Most major banks in Canada don't get it. I'm pretty sure most people are not richer than they think (Scotia Bank). I'm also pretty sure that the little fellow in a banker's hat does not evoke the warm the fuzzy feelings that I suspect the agency is trying to deliver with the Royal Bank character.
The banks that have a significantly higher rankings according to my research is the TD- and some Credit Unions in Western Canada. They do something differently.
What makes the TD a cut above, at least from my personal experience is that the bankers their understand that banking is not about finance. Banking (and bankers) is what enables a person to follow and reach his dreams. The bank helps an individual finance his degree not for education's sake, but for him to achieve his dream job. The bank is the institution that doesn't finance a house, but it enables a nest for a mom, a safe home for junior, and a feeling of provision by dad and mom. The bank is company that helps family support long-term care for a loved one so that the loved one receives the best possible care possible. And finally, the bank is also the place to deposit the first monies of a bank account for a baby- not just a secure depository, but a jumpstart in life for the dreams that parents, Godparents, friends and family want for the blank-slate life. In short, the bank ought be an emotional safe haven. The trust of a bank is not just the security of "not losing my money" , but of having a trusted banker guide you on ever step of your major life's journey's and dreams. In this context, bankers should be as as much people people as finance people. Most major banks don't get this. But my local TD branch sure does.
A few weeks ago, I popped in to my local TD branch to open up a bank account for our new baby. It only took a few minutes to open the account- but the staff greeted my wife and I with open arms and a gift-wrapped parcel. "Here's a little something for your little daughter!" The staff had pooled together some donations, bought a baby-gift-pack and wanted to share in the excitement of our new milestone. It was so touching. It still moves me thinking about it. I love my bankers.
My TD branch understands me. They get my family because they are, in a way, part of my family. I'm not richer than I think. I don't want some dude in a bowler hat. I want them around me to help me build my mortgage to build my home for my family and jumpstart a great life for our little one. I want my bank to be with me and my family on our journey through life.