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Citigroup Inc. (C), Wells Fargo & Co (WFC) – Damage Control: What Should Big Banks Do to Repair Their Brands?

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Motley Fool analyst Matt Koppenheffer sits down with Rick Engdahl for a side-of-desk interview about banks. Are they really that hard to understand? Can the big banks be trusted? Join us for a discussion that sheds some light on banks from Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C) to Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC), as well as some of the smaller players.

The crisis has passed and banks are well on the road to recovery, but many consumers still have a bad taste in their mouths. In this video segment Matt discusses what kinds of measures big banks should be taking to bolster confidence — and how investors should be looking at them as they consider getting back into the sector.

A full transcript follows the video.

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Rick Engdahl: Do you think, given the bad press over the years — and it is waning; it’s certainly not in the headlines every day like it used to be — do you think your Bank of Americas and Citigroups need to spend a lot of time and attention repairing their brands, or do you think that just comes out in the wash over the long term?

Matt Koppenheffer: Yes. I think they do. I think to some extent it’s a “Time heals all wounds” kind of issue. You only get so many media cycles on any given thing, and it’s already been a lot of media cycles on this particular issue. We’ll get to something else, for better or for worse.

But at the same time, they are going to need to continue to advertise and tell people why these are worthwhile institutions, why they’ve turned a page; they’re not necessarily doing the things that they did. I think to some extent, too, where they can is revealing the places where they didn’t run afoul.

Yeah, I think it’s a combination of things. I think they have to proactively repair the brand, but I think time as well will heal it.

Part of it, too, is just offering a good service, offering a compelling valuation for customers. No customer wants to think that they’re going to get messed around with, so I guess that’s important from a base level.

But in terms of offering ease and convenience, when you hear about Bank of America, for instance, offering mobile deposits, offering a great mobile banking experience, offering a great online banking experience.

If you’re somebody for whom convenience of banking is a big issue, that goes a long way for Bank of America repairing its brand because people start to think less about, “Well, Bank of America is messing around with mortgage modifications,” and they start to think more about, “Bank of America is a very technology-forward bank that makes banking very convenient.”

Rick: Yeah, from my work in brand, I’d say that that experience is far more important about building brand than advertising or anything like that, that people think of when they think of brand building.

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