Financial journalists claim to bypass banks' PR firms

NEW YORK: Financial journalists may seem relatively content with

the PR done by banks, but most do not credit PR agencies for helping to

improve bank communications.

These are among the findings of a survey by Global Financial

Communications Network, a group of nine PR firms. It also found that

levels of satisfaction varied significantly from country to country.

"The increasing development of products that banks are investing in

right now and their increasing international involvement has led most

banks to beef up their communications abilities, and has forced them to

communicate better with the press," said Martin Mosbacher, chairman and

managing partner of Trimedia, the US member of the network.

A major lesson from the survey for PR firms, Mosbacher added, is that

journalists will quickly turn away from agencies that don't know enough

about their financial clients. "All too often, reporters don't get what

they're looking for from PR agencies," he said.

The survey, conducted from September though October 2001, found that 63%

of journalists rated banks as either good or excellent in the overall

effectiveness of their corporate communications. Also, 59% of

journalists surveyed said that communications by banks had improved over

the past year.

Journalists most often ask banks for information on company strategy,

analyst research, and news about deals.

For the survey, 71 journalists were interviewed one-on-one in Belgium,

France, Germany, Britain, Spain, Switzerland, and the US.

Only 40% of US journalists rated communications from banks as above


That contrasted with 78% of all journalists who rated US banks as either

good or excellent. Of US journalists surveyed, 60% said communications

from banks had improved in the past year.

In Britain, 57% of journalists said banks have a good understanding of

what reporters want. More than half of those surveyed in Britain said

communications by banks had improved over the past year.

German journalists find their banks uncooperative or closed-off when it

comes to revealing bad news. Of German journalists surveyed, 54% said

banks' communications have not improved over the past year. German

journalists tend to look to secondary sources of information on banks

far more than reporters in other countries.

By contrast, in France, journalists believe they have good access to

senior bank management, with 62% of French journalists rating banks'

senior management communications as either good or excellent. In

addition, 46% of French journalists said working with a PR agency led to

an improvement in overall communications for banks.


63% of journalists rate banks as good or excellent in overall

communications effectiveness

59% of journalists say that during the past year, banks have improved


74% of journalists rate facilitating direct contact with senior

management as very important

77% rate responding rapidly to requests for information as very


93% of journalists surveyed seek information from banks at least once a


68% seek information on company strategy

61% seek analyst research

55% seek information on deals

52% rate press releases as either good or excellent

79% rate press conferences as either good or excellent

Source: GFC/Net Survey 2001, How Well Banks Communicate:

An International Study of Financial Journalists.

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