Aspen Institute Launches The Better Banking Project

April 17, 2013

Contact: Colby Farber
(202) 736-2910
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New Research Reveals “Helpful” is Key to Trust in Banking – USAA, Well Fargo Rank High
Panel Considers Trust and Future of Banking

New York, NY, April 17, 2013
– The Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security (Aspen IFS) launched The Better Banking Project yesterday, a new effort to identify and promote best practices in the financial services industry.  

The launch event featured a policy discussion “Is Trust a Lost Cause?: Banks, Consumers and a Post-Crisis World” with: Eliot Spitzer, former governor and attorney general of New York; Raj Date, former deputy director, US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; and Robert Wolf, CEO, 32 Advisors and former CEO, UBS Americas. Susan Ochs, founder of the Better Banking Project and Aspen Institute Senior Fellow, moderated the panel.

The Better Banking Project also released a new paper, The DNA of Trust in Banking, which reveals that consumer trust is not driven by honesty or value but by helpfulness.  The research also ranked some leading bank brands on trust – credit union USAA and Wells Fargo lead among larger firms, while regional banks overall trend better than the big banks.  The research was conducted by BAV Consulting with the BrandAsset Valuator, the world’s largest consumer database on brands.  

“It’s clear that to regain customers’ trust, banks will need to engage them at a much deeper level.  ‘Helpful’ goes far beyond full disclosure or fair dealing – it implies a measure of active support,” said Susan Ochs.

Read the full report The DNA of Trust in Banking at

Event Details:
Title: Is Trust a Lost Cause?: Banks, Consumers and a Post-Crisis World
Date and Time: Tuesday, April 16, 2013, 8:00 – 10:00am
Location: Harvard Club of New York City, 27 W. 44th Street, New York, NY 10036

The Better Banking Project, part of the Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security, aims to identify and promote best practices in the financial services industry.  Working with a cross-section of industry stakeholders, the Project will develop a set of metrics that help gauge trustworthiness in America’s leading banks.  These published rankings will provide new data to empower consumers and investors, as well as steps to help the industry build more stable, customer-centric organizations.

The Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security (IFS) is a leading policy program dedicated to helping bring about the policies and financial products that enable all Americans to save, invest, and own. For more information, visit

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit


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