COVID-19 pandemic helps US banks improve their image

Bank scores around trust and integrity improved in our BrandZ™ analysis thanks to programmes aimed at aiding consumers.
03 May 2021
BrandZ Bank sector image
Aaron Peterson
Ethan Peterson

Senior Director, North America

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Despite the economic turmoil brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic, the image of U.S. banks improved over the past year as new programmes for access and online banking were introduced to aid consumers.

According to BrandZ™ analysis, the scores for banks rebounded on indexes for “Brand Love,” “Consumer Trust” and “Integrity,” although bank scores on the indexes remained below average as compared to all brands. 

Among all banks, while the value of the Bank of America brand declined slightly from last year, it outperformed the average for all American banks in several key brand-building measures.

BrandZ US Bank sector value and image chart

In BrandZ™ Indexes where 100 is average, Bank of America scored 113 in Responsibility, 108 in Leadership, 108 in Purpose, and 107 in Inclusion. In the Power Index, which measures the ability of a brand to grow current market share, Bank of America increased its score year-on-year from 152 to 168. In the analysis, Kantar notes that Bank of America was among the banks that aggressively promoted programmes for financial assistance and online and mobile banking during 2020. It committed $1 billion over four years to help local communities address economic and racial inequality intensified by the pandemic.

Kantar says that U.S. banks have an opportunity to strengthen what BrandZ™ considers to be the building blocks of brand equity. While the banks are generally Salient (that is, coming quickly to mind), they lag in being Meaningful (meeting needs in relevant ways and/or building affinity) and Different (being unique vs. competitors and/or setting trends). 

In particular, compared with their global peers, the report finds that U.S banks are viewed as less purposeful. This disparity results, in part, because some of the overseas banks are state-owned and associated with a national agenda. Still, American banks have an opportunity to be seen as more purpose-driven, which will be critical as the U.S. confronts the pandemic and social disruption. 

The proprietary BrandZ™ Valuation Methodology uses consumer viewpoints to assess brand equity, and how consumers perceive and feel about a brand as a measure of potential success or opportunity. The in-depth quantitative consumer research is conducted on an ongoing basis worldwide. Globally, the research covers more than 3.8 million consumer interviews in more than 500 categories, and almost 18,000 different brands in more than 50 markets. 

The BrandZ™ Insights 2021 US Banks report and extensive analysis are available online here.

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BrandZ Insights 2021: US Sector Reports
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