BrandIndex's consumer banks research is basis of Mediapost article


In the wake of recent financial headlines and the pace at which acquisitions have taken place, it should probably come as no surprise that Wells Fargo, Chase and Bank of America are the three banks seen as the healthiest in the country, according to YouGovPolimetrix's BrandIndex.

These banks benefit from recent actions to acquire other troubled financial entities (Wachovia Securities, Washington Mutual and Merrill Lynch, respectively) over the past month, says Ted Marzilli, general manager of YouGovPolimetrix's brand group. As of Wednesday, Wells Fargo scored 34 on the company's brand index (which moves from a minus-100 to 100-point scale), Chase scored a 22 and Bank of America scored 13.

Although those scores are not particularly high, they're better than the rest of the industry, particularly regional banks. Banks such as U.S. Bank, BB&T and SunTrust have scores hovering around zero, "and it gets worse from there," Marzilli says.

"What we've seen in the last 30 to 60 days is that major national banks are seen more positively than regional banks, and regional banks are viewed more positively than investment banks," Marzilli tells Marketing Daily.

Some of the disparity between regional and national banks can be attributed to the positioning of these top three national banks as economic saviors that won't be permitted to fail, he says. "There's certainly a sense that the government has facilitated some of these purchases and that they're too large to fail," he says.

Additionally, consumers may also be concerned about continued consolidation in the banking world and whether regional banks will be aided by the $700 billion federal assistance package.

"You don't hear as much news about [regional] banks in terms of their balance their balance sheets and what the bailout package will do for them," Marzilli says. "Maybe when the list comes out about how these banks are being [assisted], that might help the regional banks a bit."

With such results, he notes there is an opportunity for the large national banks to possibly win some new accounts. "They're being viewed as quality banks," Marzilli says. "The national banks are being viewed as the good guys."