Though retail banks have worked tirelessly to rebuild consumer confidence after the recession, it is proving even more difficult for banks in regions hit hardest by the financial disaster. According to Ernst & Young’s recent study, “A New Era in Customer Expectation,” trust in banks fell during the past year in countries most affected by the downturn, whereas banks in some areas that were relatively unaffected by the crisis are seeing trust levels rise. “In developed markets, customer confidence and trust in financial institutions has been severely damaged by the economic crisis, and our findings show that it remains under threat,” said Pierre Pilorge, Ernst & Young’s Financial Services Customer Leader. “Emerging market economies have suffered less from the credit crisis and recession and so their banks have seen trust endure.” To regain consumer trust and loyalty, banks must focus on improving customer service. Call centers, for example, have consistently fared poorly in customer satisfaction (44% of respondents were not satisfied). “Customers are demanding a more personalized service if they are to remain loyal,” said Pilorge. “The successful institutions of the future will be those who offer customer-focused innovative services.” It’s back to the basics for banks.