Irish bank customer attitudes toward Irish banking sector in light of the Irish banking crisis

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Leonard, Mark Patrick
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MBA in Finance
Dublin Business School
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Ireland and its banks’ consumers have experienced monumental change in the past decade, with the Irish banking crisis being central to this transformation. This dissertation analyses and assesses the Irish banking crisis phenomenon, specifically regarding its impact on consumers by focusing on the consequent attitudes of Irish customers towards the sector. Issues related to the consumer in this research field range from the impact of the media to shifting levels of trust, anger and suffering brought about as a result of the Irish banking crisis. Through this study’s focus on such areas, a clearer picture of Irish bank customers’ current attitudes towards the banking industry is elucidated. Both the established literature and that which relates to more recent developments recognise the significance of customers to banks and vice versa. This research concerning the banking industry was developed by using online surveys through the web-based “SurveyMonkey” application to gather data quantitatively. The findings primarily point to a general indication of a slight, though insignificant, improvement in the positivity of attitudes of Irish banking customers towards the Irish banking industry since the 2008 crisis. However, attitudes varied notably amongst respondents as certain individuals were less critical of the industry’s role in the crisis than others. This study provides evidence for important linkages such as the relationship between the personal impact of the crisis and levels of anger, mistrust and negativity towards the Irish retail banking sector. The continually developing nature of the aftermath of this crisis and customers’ attitudes to banks render this piece of research particularly valuable, contributing to current knowledge by demonstrating the perspective of the customer towards the banking industry as a whole post-crisis, rather than merely towards individual companies within it. The outcomes of this study provide the banking industry with an updated understanding of the consumer outlook on banks in light of the recent banking crisis. Furthermore, the research implications of this study include recommendations for long-term actions to be pursued by the Irish banking industry as no simple quick fix solution exists to the long term implications of this crisis. A key recommendation resulting from this research is that, collectively, the banking industry has the potential to enhance Irish banking consumer attitudes in the future by working more closely with customers and improving communication by utilising multiple channels since this study highlights current flaws in these areas. Irish banks should also take joint action on an industry wide basis with regulators to influence the mass media’s interpretation of the banking sector’s current activities considering the significant role the mass media played in fuelling the property bubble which culminated in the 2008 crisis. Such changes ought to be implemented not only to improve relations but also to prevent another potential banking crisis. This recent Irish banking crisis has clearly demonstrated among other things that prevention is better than cure. Author keywords: Attitudes of bank customers, Irish banking crisis