American Express has the best reputation of any U.S. credit card issuer or bank, according to a recent study. However, not surprisingly, that same survey shows that the entire financial industry has a lot of work to do when it comes to winning people’s hearts.
American Express ranked 75th, exactly in the middle of the 150 U.S. companies included in the Reputation Institute’s recently released Global Pulse 2008 report on corporate reputation. Its overall score of 64.76 out of 100 possible points was just slightly above the mean number (64.20) for all of the 600 large companies that were included in the survey, which included firms from throughout the world. Among all U.S. companies, Google (85.23) and Johnson & Johnson (83.48) rated best, while Google rated No. 2 in the world, trailing only Toyota (86.53). Anything above 80 is rated as excellent.
According to the institute’s website, “Companies were rated by consumers in their home country. The Global Pulse is a measure of corporate reputation calculated by averaging perceptions of trust, esteem, admiration and good feeling obtained from a representative sample of 100 local respondents who were familiar with the company.”
It’s important to note that Visa, Mastercard and Discover were not included in the survey. (Discover’s former owner — Morgan Stanley — did appear, ranking just ahead of AmEx. They placed 71st on the American list.) These companies’ absence means that American Express can hardly consider this a victory over its competition. However, the company can still take solace in the fact that most any American bank would fall all over themselves to attain a score as high as theirs.
The Institute recently released the Global Top 200 and the U.S. Top 75 to the public but requires folks to pay handsomely if they want to see the complete list. However, the group did release a snapshot of results for the U.S. banking industry. The top rankings for U.S. banks are as follows:
1. Washington Mutual 64.04
2. SunTrust Banks 63.56
3. Wachovia 61.22
4. National City 58.83
5. Wells Fargo 57.38
6. US Bancorp 54.18
7. Bank of America 50.94
A list of the lowest-scoring U.S. banks in the survey wasn’t readily available. However, the lowest-rated company in the entire survey was a bank from the United Kingdom — Northern Rock, which was taken over by the British governnment last spring.
In a statement, the institute said that the banking industry had an average rating of 58.59, “which places it in the weak/vulnerable category.” It also indicated that “all of the largest U.S. banks suffered drops in reputation rankings from 2007 to 2008.”
That probably shouldn’t surprise anyone, given America’s growing credit card debt problem. With credit card delinquencies still on the upswing, it doesn’t seem likely that things are going to get better any time soon either.
Speaking of credit cards and tarnished reputations, word is that New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez might want to keep a closer eye on his cards. A-Rod’s marriage has disintegrated amidst allegations of an affair with Madonna, and his wife, Cynthia, reportedly ran up over $100,000 on his credit cards during a recent shopping spree in Paris. Her rumored goal: punishing the baseball great for his supposed philandering.
Still, lest we feel too bad about Rodriguez’s high balances, keep in mind that last winter he did sign a 10-year contract with the Yankees worth more than a quarter-billion dollars.
Somehow I think he’ll be just fine.