York Public Relations’ Latest Survey Reveals 11% of Consumers Would End Banking Relationship After a Bank Robbery

While the chances of a bank robbery are less than 0.02%, over one-tenth of consumers would end relationship if their bank or credit union experienced one

ATLANTA, Jan. 13, 2021 – York Public Relations, the nation’s only brand awareness and crisis PR firm dedicated exclusively to financial institutions and fintechs, today revealed that 11% of U.S. consumers would end a relationship with a bank or credit union if it experienced a robbery at the branch. The survey was conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of York Public Relations, garnering responses from 2,053 U.S. adults age 18 and older.

Despite consumers indicating they are less concerned with a bank robbery compared to other crises, such as compliance violations from the government at 56% or data breaches accounting for 42%, robberies continue to occur. In fact, the FBI reports over 5,000 bank robberies per year, with just slightly over half of perpetrators ever being apprehended. That comes out to over 16 robberies per day, if excluding Sundays and bank holidays when most branches are closed.

“It may seem old-fashioned and from the Bonnie and Clyde days, but bank robberies do continue to happen, however, the likeliness is very low,” said Mary York, CEO of York Public Relations. “While the FBI indicates there are approximately 16 robberies per day, comparing that to the nearly 100,000 individual bank and credit union branches across the nation translates to less than a 0.02% chance of one occurring. Still, our latest survey shows that over one-tenth of consumers would leave their bank following one.”

ATM robberies, however, tell a different story. While there is no central databank in the U.S. on the number of ATM robberies each year, it is estimated that these occur much more often. Even more unsettling, it is estimated that 15% of victims sustain injuries.

Aside from accountholders being robbed, hundreds of ATM machines are also stolen each year. A report published by Diebold Inc. and ATM Marketplace estimated that about 300 ATMs are removed (stolen) from financial institutions annually. They also estimated that the cost of physical attacks on ATMs is approximately $4.5 million per year, but this only includes ATMs stolen from financial institutions and not those at retail locations.

York added, “Ultimately – whether at the branch or ATM – robbers collectively steal millions of dollars from banks, credit unions and armored car companies each year. And occasionally, these criminals have weapons, putting employees and customers at a serious risk. While the chances are low, encountering one will undoubtedly leave customers and members uneasy, and possibly result in retention challenges. Add this to the costs lost, this could be problematic, making it critical that financial institutions have a crisis plan in place for if it does happen.”