Out of 18 states, Ireland has least faith in banking sector
RECENT figures showing that we have the lowest level of trust in banks out of 18 countries surveyed is hardly surprising.
What is more interesting perhaps is that there are countries in which faith in the banking sector has been boosted since the early days of the crisis in 2008.
Just 11pc of Irish people trust banks – down from 35pc five years ago, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer.
It's surprising that so many Irish people continue to have faith in the banking sector, given the ills that have been exposed over the last few years.
But an examination of other countries throws up some interesting statistics.
In France, the gap is considerably lower, with 32pc feeling they deserve trust, versus 35pc in 2008.
Despite Italy's economy facing its own considerable difficulties, Italians have more trust in the banks now than they did back in 2008, before the extent of the problems emerged.
The biggest jump in trust is reserved for the Chinese, who went from 72pc in 2008 to 83pc this year, followed by the Canadians, whose trust levels increased from 49pc to 59pc, and the Mexicans, from 61pc to 71pc.
Japan also appears to be fond of its banks, with trust levels shifting from 59pc in 2008 to 60pc in 2013.
But Ireland's trust in business far outstrips our faith in government, with just 32pc stating they trust the State compared with 44pc for business.
The gap between trust in business and government is greatest in Mexico, where 82pc have faith in business, compared with 41pc who have faith in the state.
Are we in the midst of a leadership crisis?
The data shows that governments and regulators are the least trusted credible spokespeople, while experts and peers top the ranking.
A lack of faith in regulators in Ireland may be understandable given our experiences, but it's interesting to see that this lack of trust is evident across the world.
Just 36pc of people trust a state official or regulator. Company CEOs hardly fare much better, coming in at 43pc.
Academics or experts top the poll, with 69pc feeling they are trustworthy, while 51pc have faith in financial or industry analysts.
The findings clearly show that political and governmental systems the world over are failing to connect with people.
The big task for governments – including our own– is how to win over a disillusioned public seemingly yearning for leadership.