Have people lost trust in the financial services industry? Absolutely, according to a recent study revealing that one in three American households feel they are stuck in a relationship with a financial services provider they don’t trust. This should be very concerning to credit union executives because without trust, there can be no loyalty.
Declining trust is a societal, cultural phenomenon that seems to hit established institutions the hardest – church, Congress, media. However, another form of trust is quickly becoming the glue that keeps society together. It is called distributed trust, and it involves “people trusting other people through technology,” according to business consultant and author Rachel Botsman. In her latest book “Who Can You Trust?” Botsman argues that with the advent of modern technology, bots and the internet, there has been a huge shift in patterns of trust.
Once, we trusted the people in the village in which we lived. With the rise of capitalism and distributed work and life, we learned to trust those above us in positions of power, knowledge and keystone intuitions. Numerous scandals and the financial crisis blew away long-established trust. We are now living in the age of what she calls “distributed trust,” trust that flows laterally between individuals who don’t know each other. As she explains, “The rise of multi-billion dollar companies such as AirBnB and Uber whose success depends on trust between strangers, is a clear illustration of how trust can now travel through networks and marketplaces.” This is a fundamental paradigm shift driven by new technologies that are rewriting the rules of an all-too-human relationship.
“Who Can You Trust?” is filled with intriguing stories and examples of how a new understanding of trust drives our digital lives and new ways of interacting — peer-to-peer lending, online education courses, Wikipedia, self-driving cars – and why we take leaps of trust. She also discusses the dark side of trust, why there’s a risk in over-trusting robots and the importance of trust on the Darknet. As she explains, trust is “society’s most precious and fragile asset,” and we should all take a “trust pause” before deciding whom to put faith in.
Trust us, you should read this book.