Harris Poll Names Banking Brands of the Year

Chase Bank Takes Top Spot Among National Banks for Fifth Consecutive Year
Millennials Award Highest Equity, Show Strongest Connection to Banks

NEW YORK, August 30, 2016 – For the first time, Capital One is the Super Regional Bank[1] Brand of the Year, with a double-digit increase in brand equity, according to The Harris Poll 2016 EquiTrend Study. The 28th annual study awards the strongest brands in nearly 100 categories across the media, travel, financial, automotive, entertainment, retail, restaurants and household industries, based on consumer response. Chase Bank is the National Bank Brand of the Year for the fifth consecutive year.

Measuring brands’ health over time, the EquiTrend Brand Equity Index is comprised of three factors – Familiarity, Quality and Purchase Consideration – that result in a brand equity rating for each brand. Brands ranking highest in equity receive the Harris Poll EquiTrend “Brand of the Year” award for their respective categories. This year, more than 97,000 U.S. consumers assessed more than 3,800 brands (including nearly 20 banking brands), across nearly 500 categories. The complete list of Harris Poll EquiTrend Brands of the Year can be found at: https://nharrisco.wpengine.com/equitrend-rankings/2016. Additional information can be found at: www.theharrispoll.com/equitrend-information.

Capital One increased its brand equity by 10 percent since 2014, the largest equity increase among all banking brands and one of the largest equity increases across all brands assessed, which is significant given the tendency for equity to resist rapid movement.

“With consumers’ memories of the 2008 financial crisis fading, overall we see financial institutions making a slow yet steady march toward brand equity improvement,” said Joan Sinopoli, vice president of brand solutions at Nielsen, which owns the Harris Poll. “Capital One’s unusually strong equity climb is likely helped by heavy promotion of its payment card business. Unlike other financial services brands, payment cards are consistently among the top ranking categories in the EquiTrend study.”


The 2016 Harris Poll EquiTrend National Bank Brand of the Year

Source: The Harris Poll EquiTrend® Study 

1. Chase Bank

Other National Bank brands in study ranked below category average (alphabetically): 

Bank of America, Citibank, Wells Fargo



The 2016 Harris Poll EquiTrend Super Regional Bank Brands of the Year

Source: The Harris Poll EquiTrend® Study 

1. Capital One

2. Ally Bank 

3. Regions Bank 

4. PNC Bank 

5. BB&T Bank 

Other Super Regional Bank brands in study ranked below category average (alphabetically):  Citizens Bank, Fifth Third Bank, HSBC Bank, KeyBank, M&T Bank, Santander Bank, SunTrust Bank, U.S. Bank


Top Banking Brands Make a Connection with Customers

The Harris Poll study shows that while consumers have a difficult time connecting with their banks, some brands, like Chase, Capital One and Ally Bank, demonstrate a stronger level of emotional connection with their customers.

“When consumers consider your brand to have strong momentum or be ‘on the way up,” it matters,” said Sinopoli. “This momentum, combined with have a high level of emotional connection and personal fit with the brand, is a strong foundation for building brand equity. Like Capital One, Chase is largely associated with some of the best payment card programs available. Capital One – heavily associated with Internet banking – and online-based Ally are aligned with consumers’ increasing use of online banking to conduct their regular banking business.” 


Millennials Award Highest Equity to Banks, Shows Strongest Connection

The Harris Poll study shows that millennial consumers, compared to Generation X and baby boomers, award banks slightly higher equity compared to older generations (Millennials award a brand equity score of 57 for total banks, national and super regional combined, compared to brand equity scores of 53 each from Generation X and baby boomers), with no distinction between national and super regional banks. Millennials also indicate a strong connection, or emotional bond, with their banks.

“Millennials are a key growth target for banks,” said Sinopoli. “Not only does this generation rely on mobile and online tools to manage their finances, they are defined by technology and mobility. Banks will need to continue to build and grow digital access and technology options if they want any opportunity to compete with mobile wallet options and connect with this important customer base.”



The 2016 Harris Poll EquiTrend Study is based on a sample of 97,120 U.S. consumers ages 15 and over surveyed online, in English, between December 22, 2015 and February 1, 2016.  The survey took an average of 30 minutes to complete. The total number of brands rated was 3,837. Each respondent was asked to rate a total of 40 randomly selected brands. Each brand received approximately 1,000 ratings. Data was weighted to be representative of the entire U.S. population of consumers ages 15 and over based on age by sex, education, race/ethnicity, region, income, and data from respondents ages 18 and over were also weighted for their propensity to be online. Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

The Brand Equity Index is the keystone to the EquiTrend program, providing an understanding of a brand’s overall strength. A brand’s Equity is determined by a calculation of Familiarity, Quality and Purchase Consideration. Brand of the Year is determined by a simple ranking of brands.

The Harris Poll EquiTrend Brand Equity Index has been academically vetted[2], showing that strong brand equity is associated with strong financial performance, even during a financial downturn, such as that experienced in 2007-2010.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.


About The Harris Poll
Over the last five decades, Harris Polls have become media staples. With comprehensive experience and precise technique in public opinion polling, along with a proven track record of uncovering consumers’ motivations and behaviors, The Harris Poll has gained strong brand recognition around the world. The Harris Poll offers a diverse portfolio of proprietary client solutions to transform relevant insights into actionable foresight for a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer packaged goods. Nielsen acquired Harris Interactive, Inc. (which operates The Harris Poll) in 2014. Contact us for more information.

Harris Poll EquiTrend study results disclosed in this release may not be used for advertising, marketing or promotional purposes without the prior written consent of Harris Poll. All third party trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Use of such trademarks does not constitute or imply any sponsorship or endorsement.

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[1] A mid-sized bank that has a significant presence in a geographical region across multiple states.

[2] The Harris Poll EquiTrend methodology has been validated by academic business experts in the Journal of Marketing Research (1994) and International Journal of Research on Marketing (2012).