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Financial Planning > Behavioral Finance

Top 10 Biggest U.S. Banks With Best Reputations

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American financial institutions have taken a grievous hit to their reputation in recent years. As a result, the trust and admiration of their stakeholders has grown disappearingly small.

This week, Dix & Eaton, a 60-year-old, Cleveland-based communications consultancy, identified nine critical value factors that drive the reputation of financial institutions, and ranked the nation’s 10 largest bank holding companies in terms of each.

The drivers were weighted according to the importance each was given in the analysis. The top five drivers in terms of their influence on reputation:

  • Return on shareholder investment (ROI)
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Transparency
  • Sustainability
  • Image

The other four drivers were perception of stability, innovation, leadership and stakeholder relationship.

“While it is no surprise that ROI shows up among the top drivers of financial institution reputation, more telling is that corporate social responsibility is the No. 2 driver, and sustainability No. 4,” Pamela Cohen, the D&E behavioral economist who led the analysis, said in a statement. “This, of course, highlights our culture’s return to grass roots despite—or perhaps because of—the downturn in the economy. Values are viewed as being critical to organizational success and acceptance.”

Cohen said transparency, the No. 3 driver, would be financial institutions’ key to regaining trust as they strive to make reparations that allow them to grow as the economy recovers.

The rankings were finalized in April, Cohen told AdvisorOne in a telephone interview. When rankings are reissued after the end of the second quarter, she said, shifts are likely, in particular the position of JPMorgan Chase, which has run into a rough patch in recent weeks.

The analysis drew on 30 data sources, including industry rankings, surveys and government statistical information, D&E said in the statement.

It then used the proprietary D&E Impact Index, which combines behavioral economics and statistical modeling to provide a comprehensive, quantified analysis of intangible assets and then links those assets to desired outcomes for an organization or industry. No single institution was first on every driver.

Following are the 10 banks ranked by overall reputation based on nine value drivers. The institutions in the analysis were the largest bank holding companies based on assets as of March 31.

 HSBC branch in London. (Photo: AP)

10. HSBC North America Holdings

US Bancorp branch in Omaha, Neb. (Photo: AP)

9. U.S. Bancorp

Morgan Stanley headquarters in New York. (Photo: AP)

8. Morgan Stanley

BNY Mellon headquarters in New York. (Photo: AP)

7. The Bank of New York Mellon