Levels of trust in the banks in Georgia: Changes over the past two years

Banking is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the Georgian economy, a point which was underlined in a 2009 report from the Ministry of Economic Development of Georgia. But does this development mean that society views banks as trustworthy partners for households (HH) in Georgia?
In fact, from 2008 to 2009, the overall level of trust in banks has decreased in Georgia, especially for the HHs who say they have savings and for those who say they have debts. This could in part be due to the global financial crisis which, according to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s (EBRD) 2010 country strategy report, significantly affected the Georgian economy. The crisis revealed the financial sector’s weaknesses around the world and led to widespread doubt concerning the reliability of banks.

Households & Savings

For the small number of HHs who say they have savings (9 percent in 2008, 6 percent in 2009), the level of trust in banks has significantly decreased. According to the 2008 Caucasus Barometer (CB, previously referred to as the “Data Initiative”), combining the “fully trust” and “somewhat trust” categories shows that 60 percent of HHs with savings said they trusted banks. In 2009, however, this figure fell to 49 percent. As a place to put one’s money and keep it safe, apparently, fewer people view banks in a positive light.
Even for HHs without savings – the majority of the respondents – the level of trust in banks has fallen: in 2008, 53 percent of them had said that they trusted banks, whereas only 42 percent said the same in 2009 (see Figure 1). At the same time, the number of those saying specifically they distrust banks remained the same, hinting at a high degree of uncertainty with regard to banks among the population.

Households & Debts

The level of trust in banks among HHs who reported that they have debts saw an even larger drop. Although these could be debts either to banks or to private persons, without interest, this drop could be linked to the fact that it has become increasingly difficult for HHs to take out loans to help alleviate any debts they have. Overall, 43 percent (2008) and 42 percent (2009) of the HHs claimed to be indebted. Of these HHs, 59 percent said that they trusted banks in 2008, though only 45 percent claimed the same in 2009. 
On the other hand, the level of trust remained broadly similar in those HHs who say they do not have debts. Forty-nine percent of them had said that they trusted banks in 2008, while 42 percent said the same in 2009.


The 2008 Caucasus Barometer was carried out from the second half of October to the middle of November, and these figures offer a snapshot of how the global financial crisis may have taken its toll on HHs’ trust in banks in Georgia. Still, there are certainly other factors which play a role, and further research and commentary are needed. We invite you to access the 2008 CB dataset to make your own comparisons here.

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