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Flavin, C., Guinalu, M. y Torres, E. (2005). The influence of corporate image on consumer trust. Internet Research, 15 (4) pp. 447-470.

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The inuence of corporate image on consumer trust


A comparative analysis in traditional versus internet banking
n and Miguel Guinal u Carlos Flavia
University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain, and

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Eduardo Torres
University of Chile, Santiago, Chile
Abstract
Purpose To analyze the relationship between corporate image and consumer trust in the context of nancial services distribution. Design/methodology/approach This paper analyzes the causal relationship that exists between corporate image and consumer trust in the nancial services distribution through traditional channels, as well as over the internet. This paper also analyzes the moderating effect of relationship duration on the inuence of the corporate image on trust. Findings The results obtained show that in distribution through traditional channels no signicant differences exist in the intensity of the effect of the image on trust in terms of the relationship duration. Nevertheless, signicant differences in the nancial services distribution over the internet have been observed. Practical implications The signicant inuence that image exerts on consumer trust shows us that corporate image becomes a key tool for the management of trust in nancial services distribution. Originality/value Despite the importance that researchers have assigned to the variables of corporate image and trust, much of the work so far is in the initial phase of development. Thus, the majority of the works have been approached from a fundamentally theoretical perspective, or else the empirical testing has been carried out in an indirect way, based on factors that form part of the image or are related to it. Because of this, today there is no research that has empirically evaluated the role played by corporate image in the levels of trust of the consumer of nancial services. Keywords Internet, Trust, Corporate image Paper type Research paper

1. Introduction The distribution of nancial services today faces new challenges, derived from the spread of new technologies and the greater intensity of competition exercised by new channels for doing business. Consequently, researchers have been studying the factors that could inuence purchasing decisions by the consumer of nancial services. In this respect, the concepts of corporate image and trust have gained special relevance. A variety of studies have made it clear that image and consumer trust can signicantly affect individual behavior (e.g. Ratnasingham, 1998). Thus, it
The authors wish to express their gratitude for the nancial support received from received from n Regional Government (S-46; the Spanish Government CICYT (SEC2002-01009), the Arago PM-34) and FUNDEAR.
Internet Research Vol. 15 No. 4, 2005 pp. 447-470 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 1066-2243 DOI 10.1108/10662240510615191

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has been suggested that the image perceived by the consumer helps to make tangible the inuential factors present at the moment of execution of a nancial transaction, diminishing the risk perceived by the individual and simultaneously increasing the probability of purchase. In addition, we should like to point out that lack of trust has been identied as one of the major obstacles to the spread of internet banking (Rexha et al., 2003). Despite the importance that researchers have assigned to the variables of image and trust in the distribution of nancial services, we consider that much of the work so far is in the initial phase of development. This fact is reected especially when relating image to other variables that might inuence decision-making by agents involved in the exchanges. In this respect, we stress the works that have analyzed the relationship between corporate image and consumer trust. Thus, the majority of the works concerning the corporate image/trust relationship have been approached from a fundamentally theoretical perspective (e.g. Lehu, 2001), or else the empirical testing has been carried out in an indirect way, based on factors that form part of the image or are related to it, such as, for example, reputation or perceived usefulness (e.g. Ba, 2001; Mukherjee and Nath, 2003). Consequently, today we have no research that has empirically evaluated the role played by corporate image in the levels of trust of the consumer of nancial services. Similarly, the inuence of the duration of the relationship on the intensity of the impact of image on trust has not been evaluated. Therefore, this paper carries out a study of the relationship between image and trust in the distribution of nancial services through traditional channels as well as in the new commercial avenues based on the internet. Moreover, the moderating role of the length of the relationship on the inuence that corporate image has on consumer trust is evaluated. Finally, major conclusions will be drawn and principal managerial implications will be presented. 2. Theoretical background 2.1 Corporate image and nancial services distribution The specialist marketing literature has emphasized that corporate image is not the only image to be perceived by the consumer. In this respect, researchers have suggested that there are different types of image depending on the specic group of consumers (Nguyen and Leblanc, 1998, 2001) and the kind of experiences and contacts they have had with the business and/or its brand (Dowling, 1986, 1988). Similarly, Gray and Smeltzer (1985) point out that image is a set of impressions that different kinds of public have of a certain company. For LeBlanc and Nguyen (1996, p. 45), corporate image is the result of an aggregate process by which customers compare and contrast various attributes of companies. This complex character of the image construct has in turn introduced a particular intricacy to the process of generating and managing a corporate image. In this respect, De Chernatony (1999) suggests that due to the existence of these different perceptions, businesses are progressively looking to coordinate their activities, with the objective of trying to transmit a single image. Specically, they are trying to determine how their brands are being perceived, both within the company as well as in the target market. Moreover, they are promoting the coordinated and efcient projection of an image that matches the interests of the business, especially with regard to the degree of inuence on consumer trust.

As a consequence of the inuence of image on consumer behavior, this variable has acquired signicant relevance during recent years and has become a key factor in the advanced management of marketing strategy in every company (Esteban et al., 1997). Thus, it is worth emphasizing the growing interest in the corporate image in the nancial sector. This interest is based on several aspects: . the possibility that image might be considered as a source of competitive advantage; and . the fact that a positive image will not only help the company to attract customers, but will also exercise a positive inuence on the trust of other interested groups. In short, we may consider that corporate image is a strategic tool of great value for the nancial sector, since besides helping to achieve long-term objectives (Abratt and Mofokeng, 2001) it can turn into a source of competitive advantage. This is due to the fact that corporate image is one of the most difcult resources to imitate, as a consequence of the extensive time period that is needed to develop it (Hall, 1993). This phenomenon leads to obstacles to entry into the market by new competitors. Furthermore, the directors of nancial entities are conscious of the effect that corporate image can have on the trust of their customers. This helps them to attract not only potential customers, but also those interest groups necessary to achieve success, such as analysts, investors, rating agencies, employees, and so on (Abratt and Mofokeng, 2001). All this has a measurable effect on business management, since it assumes that every nancial institution should concern itself with the management and control of its corporate image (Park et al., 1986). It is also necessary to guard against the corporate image being modied in the market as a result of external factors that are not controlled by the organization. Otherwise, a negative image could be generated, which very possibly would be difcult to reorientate in the direction of the companys interests. 2.2. Trust and nancial services distribution Trust is one of the variables that has attracted major interest in the academic community. This is due to the fact that trust is considered a strategic variable in current marketing (Selnes, 1998). It is an essential ingredient in the success of relationships (Berry, 1995; Dwyer et al., 1987; Moorman et al., 1992; Morgan and Hunt, 1994). In fact, the relevance of trust applies to a wide variety of cases, such as the exchanges between companies or with the administration (Kennedy et al., 2001). In addition, its effect on relationships in the distribution channel (Langerak, 2001), satisfaction, obtained results or investment planning has been widely studied (e.g. Anderson and Narus, 1990; Moorman et al., 1992; Spekman, 1988). Trust may be dened as one partys belief that its needs will be fullled in the future by actions undertaken by the other party (Anderson and Weitz, 1989, p. 312). Trust refers to the value that one of the parties assigns to certain attributes of the partner in the exchange, particularly the degree of honesty (Gundlach and Murphy, 1993) and of goodwill (Larzelere and Huston, 1980; Doney and Cannon, 1997). In spite of the existence of some points of agreement among researchers of trust such as its inuence on decision making or on the degree of commitment (e.g. Achrol, 1991; Moorman et al., 1992) the focus adopted in these studies has not always been

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the same. Thus, we see how some authors have moved away from the study of trust in the framework of interpersonal relations, to consider trust from the point-of-view of the consumer regarding a brand or a product. This is the case of Chaudury and Holbrook (2001), who consider that trust is the consumers certainty of the brands ability to work properly. Consequently, trust is not necessarily an attitude toward another person, but also may be directed toward an intangible object, such as a brand (Delgado and Munuera, 2001). The effect of trust on the continuing relationship is greater depending on the sector under analysis. One of the areas in which this effect is most strongly felt is in the services sector (Grayson and Ambler, 1999). This is due to the particular characteristics of the distribution of services (Liu and Wei, 2003). . Intangibility: the intangibility of services prevents the consumer from being able to precisely value the quality of the product before it has been acquired. . Inseparability: services are produced and consumed at the same moment in time, whereas with tangible goods the production and consumption originate at well-dened distinct times. . Heterogeneity: the quality of services is variable, since it depends on who provides the product, when and where. Nevertheless, the quality of tangible goods is much more consistent, thanks to advances in the systems of production. . Expiration: services cannot be stored due to their intangible character, so that their production will depend on sufcient resources being available at any given time. 3. Hypothesis formulation Studies carried out regarding the role of corporate image on the behavior of individuals show us that the formation of this construct is cumulative. Thus, the accumulation of experiences over time contributes to the generation of an image in the mind of the consumer (Nguyen and LeBlanc, 1998; Howcroft and Lavis, 1986). In addition, the duration of the relationship also fullls a fundamental role in the formation of trust (Einhorn and Hogarth, 1978). The greater the duration of the relationship of business-customer, especially if the service carries a high perceived risk, the greater the probability that the trust deposited in that service will also increase (Smith and Swinyard, 1982). For this reason, we may consider that in the distribution of nancial services, experience plays a crucial role in the formation of a positive attitude on the part of the consumer, given that these kinds of products are associated with a high level of perceived risk not least concerning the so-called nancial risk (Mitchel, 1998). Despite the fact that experience might operate in isolation, this could act as a factor that inuences the relationship between the corporate image and other variables related to decision-making on the part of consumers, especially in the level of trust in the organization. Thus the succession of positive experiences allows the perceived image held by the purchaser to improve, at the same time enhancing the level of trust. In this way, the process of image formation would permit a parallel development of trust. Some research suggests that corporate image is one of the most inuential factors in the degree of consumer trust (Lehu, 2001). For Lehu (2001) corporate image is one of the

fundamental elements that form part of what he calls the shield of trust. In fact, image for this author is one of the elements that enables the building of a sincere relationship of trust between total satisfaction and the natural loyalty of the consumer. However, the availability of research suggesting a direct link between corporate image and trust is scarce. In fact, most research undertaken in the new channels of distribution suggests an indirect relationship between both variables. Thus, for example, for Yoon (2002) the variables related to corporate image signicantly inuence the trust of the consumer towards a specic website. Something similar occurs in the case of research studies in the nancial sector. In fact, in this sector the relationship between corporate image and consumer trust has been better explained by means of other variables, in particular, reputation and perceived usefulness by customers. Among these studies we might quote Mukherjee and Nath (2003), in which reputation is included as one of the dimensions of trust. Similarly we cite the study by Ba (2001), according to which the reputation internet banking is one of the principal factors inuencing the use of this new channel of communication. We might also cite the study done by Suh and Han (2002), who demonstrated that the perceived usefulness by consumers of internet banking signicantly inuences trust in these types of nancial institutions. In spite of the relevance of the relationship between image and trust to the success of the bank, until now research has not been developed that analyzes this relationship. So, in this work the direct inuence exercised by corporate image on consumer trust in the context of nancial services is examined. This relationship will be analyzed in the traditional channels as well as in the channels based on the internet. In line with these proposals the following research hypotheses are put forward: H1. A better corporate image favors a higher level of trust in a nancial institution that operates through traditional distribution channels. H2. A better corporate image favors a higher level of trust in a nancial institution that operates through the internet. The intensity of the inuence exerted by the corporate image of a nancial institution on the degree of trust of its customers can be subject to diverse factors. Among these, the one that predictably carries more weight is the duration of the relationship between the customer and the bank. Indeed, the marketing literature has discussed the effect of the relationship duration on the variables that inuence decision-making and the relationship between them (e.g. Buvik and Halskau, 2001). So, certain authors have distinguished various phases in the development of a relationship. In this respect, Ha (2004) in the context of brand trust online, notices that building e-brand trust requires a systematic relationship between a consumer and a particular web brand. Likewise, Dwyer et al. (1987) state that aspects such as the increase of commitment and trust help, over time, to reduce levels of conict and produce a greater interdependence between the parties involved in the relationship. Similarly, Wilson (1995) analyzes the variables that inuence the progress of the relationship. In this respect, variables such as social links, cooperation or shared technology have an effect on the relationship. Nevertheless, Wilson (1995) emphasizes that the inuence of each variable is not constant, as it may be latent until a certain event occurs that activates the effect of the variable. In addition, Verhoef et al. (2000) test how the inuence of satisfaction on trust is dependent on the duration of the

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relationship. Likewise, Grayson and Ambler (1999) notice that the so-called dark sides of long-term relationships cause the discouraging effect of relationship duration on the association of trust and commitment with relationship performance, although they can not nd support for this hypothesis. The inuence that the passage of time can exert on the relationship between corporate image and trust in the distribution of nancial services may be due to two fundamental factors. In the rst place, as has been mentioned, image and trust are variables whose formation is due to cumulative experiences between both parties. For this reason, one might suggest that their structuring in the mind of the consumer, and inuence on his/her behavior, will vary depending on the duration of the relationship. Secondly, the inherent risk in the purchase of nancial services on the internet, and in general in any purchase made online (Cheung and Lee, 2001), is greater than that observed in traditional channels. Furthermore, the aforementioned risk varies among different segments of consumers, being greater in those who have less experience and knowledge of the nancial institution (Al-Ashban and Burney, 2001). The two factors previously alluded to may be observed in the distribution of nancial services through the internet. In the rst contact that the consumer has with the virtual bank the perceived risk in each operation is greater than that perceived in later phases, due to the absence of previous experience that enables the consumer to make inferences as to how the bank will behave and how the nancial transactions will go. Thus, in these initial phases, aspects that shape the corporate image and at the same time are factors that inuence the adoption of internet banking, such as security in transactions, ease of use of the system (Sathye, 1999) or the degree of reputation, have a greater bearing on the degree of trust shown by the consumer. In later phases, the increased experience of the consumer will enable him/her to value with greater objectivity the virtual banks reputation, security or usability of the nchez-Franco and Rodr guez-Bobada, 2004; Constantinides, 2004) through website (Sa which transactions are carried out. Therefore, the passage of time should reduce the intensity of the inuence of image on trust, and would give rise to a lesser dependency on image, and trust could depend more on other variables, such as the degree of satisfaction. Nevertheless, the passage of time does not mean that image stops signicantly affecting the degree of trust of the individual, but that it does so with reduced intensity. Furthermore, if we consider the marketing of nancial services via bricks-and-mortar branches, it seems reasonable to suppose that the intensity of the image-trust relationship will not be affected by the duration of the relationship. This will be because of the lesser-perceived risk by the consumer in purchasing through traditional channels compared to online purchases. The greater awareness of participating agents in the market and of the nancial system together will cause those consumers approaching the bank for the rst time to perceive no signicantly greater risk than do long-term purchasers. Therefore, factors such as security or reputation components of the image construct will show no signicant inuence over time. In accordance with this rationale we may suggest the following working hypotheses: H3. In the context of traditional banking, the length of the relationship with the consumer does not have a signicant impact on the inuence of corporate image on consumer trust.

H4. In the context of internet banking, the length of the relationship with the consumer has a signicant impact on the inuence of corporate image on consumer trust. 4. Reliability and validity analysis To develop this research a personal survey was conducted among a sample of customers who used the services of the main Spanish nancial institutions. This group of internet users is relevant due to the fact that Spanish is the fourth language on the internet after English, Chinese and Japanese (see www.internetworldstats.com). Our non-random method of collecting the data (volunteer sampling) generated a total of 633 users, of whom 151 also made use of services offered by the same bank on the internet (atypical cases, repeated responses and incomplete questionnaires were controlled). As it was not possible to statistically assess the reliability or possible bias of non-random samples we compared some of the survey results with available information about the population. Thus we compared the sociodemographical characteristics of the sample with other studies on the online Spanish-speaking population (e.g. AIMA, 2005). The results are very similar. To select the nancial institutions on the internet, the classication proposed by pez (2001) was considered, including traditional banks operating through internet Lo and virtual banks. We consider virtual banking to be a specic form of banking for internet characterized by the fact that it does not have a registered name or conventional branches where clients can carry out their transactions. We measured images dimensions (access to services, services offered, personal contact, security and reputation) and consumer trust through multi-item seven-point Likert scales. Moreover, in the survey we included some socio-demographic data. These socio-demographic data show that most participants were between 17 and 44 years old (74.8 percent), males (53.3 percent), incomes lower than e24.000 per year (60.5 percent) and in general they had a good educational level (61.5 percent higher education). The scales initially proposed were subjected to a further sifting process in order to obtain measurement instruments that would allow us to quantify the concepts we wanted to measure. 4.1 Exploratory analysis of reliability These analyses offered satisfactory results. Cronbachs alpha test showed an acceptable degree of internal consistency in the scales and groups we considered, being in all the cases over the 0.7 recommended by Cronbach (1970) or Nunnally (1978). So, for traditional banking Cronbachs alpha was 0.80 for access to services, 0.79 services offered, 0.88 personal contact, 0.83 security, 0.74 reputation and 0.90 consumer trust. For internet banking Cronbachs alpha was 0.76 in access to services, 0.81 services offered, 0.92 security, 0.82 reputation, and 0.88 trust. Nevertheless, in the case of internet banking it was observed that variable ACCI5 presented an item-total correlation subscale of 0.06 which is below the limit of 0.3 established by Nurosis (1993) for such effects. Therefore, this indicator was eliminated from the analysis with a view to improving the internal consistency of the access to services subscale. As a second stage in the previous exploratory analyses of the scales, we carried out a study of unidimensionality in each by means of an exploratory factor analysis

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(McDonald, 1981). To achieve this, an exploratory analysis was applied using the SPSS 10.0 statistics package. The exploratory factorial analysis was carried out on each of the subscales considered, applying principal components, and when necessary Varimax rotation. The factor extraction criterion used was the eigenvalue, although for the nal decision on the number of factors to consider, variance explained by the rst factor (which had to be close to 60 percent) and factor loads (which had to be higher than 0.45) were analyzed. The tests applied to the six scales presented correct values of KMO indicator and Barlett sphericity test. Factorial analysis revealed the existence of a single factor in all scales, variances higher that 0.6 and factor loads higher than 0.7. 4.2 Conrmatory analysis of reliability In order to guarantee the proposed scales reliability and validity, we carried out a series of conrmatory analyses with all the variables included in the model and according to the methodology of conrmatory model development (Hair et al., 1998). This methodology enables one to sift scales by the development of successive conrmatory factor analyses. We used the statistical software EQS version 5.7b. As an estimation method we chose robust maximum likelihood, since it affords more security in samples that do not unmistakably pass multivariate normality tests. With this aim, we successively eliminated those items that did not meet the three criteria proposed by reskog and So rbom (1993): Jo (1) Criteria of weak convergence would eliminate indicators that did not have a signicant factorial regression coefcient t student(. 2:58 : p 0:01). (2) Criteria of strong convergence would eliminate those indicators that were not substantial, i.e. those whose standardized coefcient is less than 0.5. reskog and So rbom (1993) propose the elimination of those indicators (3) Lastly, Jo that least contribute to the explanation of the model, considering the cut-off point as R 2 , 0:3. In accordance with these three criteria it was necessary to carry out three conrmatory analyses in the group of traditional banking that meant the elimination of items SECT4, SECT5, TRUSTT6 and TRUSTT8 (see appendix). In addition, in the sample of users of internet banking it was necessary to develop four conrmatory factor analyses, which gave rise to the sifting of items SERI4, SERI5, TRUSTI4 and TRUSTI6. The adjusted indicators in the group of traditional banking and internet banking offered satisfactory values (see Table I).
Adjustment t measures x2 (g.l.) Satorra-Bentler x2 RMSEA NFI NNFI IFI CFI RCFI x2/g.l. Optimum value Traditional banking Internet banking

Table I. Adjustment t measures for conrmatory factor analysis

High High High High High

p . 0:05 1072.035 (260) p , 0:001 311.507 (142) p , 0:001 p . 0:05 744.8267 p 0:0000 260.2812 p 0:0000 , 0.08 0.070 0.089 (close to 1) 0.892 0.854 (close to 1) 0.903 0.896 (close to 1) 0.916 0.915 (close to 1) 0.916 0.914 (close to 1) 0.931 0.904 (1; 5) 4.123 2.193

In order to conrm the multidimensionality of the variable image two structural models were compared: a rst order model and one factor, and a second order model with ve factors for traditional banking and four factors for internet banking (Steenkamp and Van Trijp, 1991; Hair et al., 1998). The results indicated that the t of the second order model was superior to that offered by the rst order model. Therefore, the presence of ve dimensions in image (four for internet banking) could be conrmed. In order to conrm the denitive reliability of the scales, we carried out tests of the reskog, 1971) and the average variance extracted composite reliability coefcient (Jo (Fornell and Larcker, 1981). Result are offered in Table II (average variance extracted must be higher to 0.5 and composite reliability coefcient higher to 0.7). These analyses offered satisfactory results. 4.3 Validity analysis In order to verify whether through the designed scales we were measuring the concepts n and Lozano, correctly, we carried out the corresponding analyses of validity (Flavia 2003). 4.3.1 Content validity. After a review of the most pertinent literature regarding the measurement of corporate image and trust, a preliminary questionnaire was designed. For the items making up the measurement scales, an analysis was made of the literature regarding the measurement of traditional banking image from a multi-dimensional viewpoint. Among these works are those by Evans (1979), Mandel et al. (1981), Parasuraman et al. (1988), Alonso and Cruz (1991), Llorca (1995), LeBlanc and Nguyen (1996), and Nguyen and LeBlanc (2001). In order to develop the scales of trust, research done by Moorman et al. (1992, 1993), Morgan and Hunt (1994), Doney and Cannon (1997), Hewett and Bearden (2001), and Sanzo et al. (2003) was taken as reference in different sectors of activity. Due to the fact that a large part of the literature dealt with traditional distribution channels, or else used misvalidated scales, a prior sifting of the items proposed initially was required. This sifting, following the der (2003), was based on opinions recommendations of De Wulf and Odekerken-Schro expressed by focus groups made up of various experts in e-banking and e-marketing, as well as a series of in-depth interviews with around a dozen users of e-banking and traditional banking. Finally, a quantitative pre-test was conducted with a sample of 30 users, based on exploratory factorial and Cronbach alpha analyses. The aim of these initial siftings was to ensure that the questions posed were understood correctly, as well as to include the most pertinent aspects in the measuring of image perceived and consumer trust. Detailed information on the origin of the items considered appears in the appendix. 4.3.2 Construct validity. This type of validity analysis is formed by two fundamental categories of validity: convergent and discriminatory. To test convergent validity it was contrasted that the standardized coefcients in each scale were over 0.5 and signicant (Sanzo et al., 2003). Moreover, the correlations between ve dimensions of image (four in internet banking) were signicant and high (Lozano, 2003). The discriminatory validity was conrmed through three distinct criteria. Firstly, the correlation between the different variables in the conrmatory models was tested to make sure that they did not exceed 0.8 points as this would indicate a low discrimination between them (Bagozzi, 1994). Secondly, we checked that the value 1 did

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Access to services Services offered Personal contact Security Reputation Trust

Table II. Average variance extracted and composite reliability coefcient Internet banking Average variance extracted Composite reliability coefcient 0.49 0.48 Not included 0.65 0.52 0.51 0.79 0.72 Not included 0.85 0.76 0.86 0.39 0.42 0.50 0.52 0.42 0.54 0.76 0.69 0.83 0.77 0.68 0.87

Traditional banking Average variance extracted Composite reliability coefcient

not show that it was in the condence interval of the correlations between the different variables of the conrmatory model. Finally, the correlation between each pair of conrmatory model variables was xed at 1 and a chi-squared difference test was carried out (Bagozzi, 1981). The evaluation of all the discrimination criteria gave us a sufcient discriminate validity. The data corresponding to convergent and discriminatory validity can be seen in Tables III and IV. The results of these analyses allowed us to conrm the convergent and discriminatory validity of the different scales. 5. Results In this section we contrast the relation of causality between the two variables proposed in the working hypotheses. Specically, the rst hypothesis suggests that image perceived will have a positive inuence on consumer trust for traditional banking,
Variables Acc-serv Acc-per Acc-sec Acc-rep Serv-per Ser-sec Serv-rep Per-sec Per-rep Sec-rep Acc-trust Serv-trust Per-trust Sec-trust Rep-trust Correlations 0.70 * 0.72 * 0.63 * 0.75 * 0.62 * 0.65 * 0.76 * 0.63 * 0.67 * 0.66 * 0.71 * 0.67 * 0.67 * 0.70 * 0.80 * Condence interval (0.04; (0.04; (0.05; (0.04; (0.05; (0.05; (0.05; (0.05; (0.05; (0.05; (0.65; (0.61; (0.61; (0.63; (0.74; 0.09) 0.08) 0.09) 0.10) 0.09) 0.10) 0.10) 0.09) 0.05) 0.11) 0.76) 0.73) 0.72) 0.75) 0.85) Dif. x2 (g.l.) 157.258 268.142 355.169 116.883 253.558 228.204 90.383 451.854 200.064 195.509 304.851 249.140 294.660 310.521 378.583 (1) (1) (1) (1) (1) (1) (1) (1) (1) (1) (1) (1) (1) (1) (1) p , 0.001 , 0.001 , 0.001 , 0.001 , 0.001 , 0.001 , 0.001 , 0.001 , 0.001 , 0.001 , 0.001 , 0.001 , 0.001 , 0.001 , 0.001

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Note: *Signicant to level 0.01

Table III. Convergent and discriminatory validity for traditional banking

Variables Acc-serv Acc-sec Acc-rep Ser-sec Serv-rep Sec-rep Acc-trust Serv-trust Sec-trust Rep-trust

Correlations 0.55 * 0.29 * 0.48 * 0.54 * 0.65 * 0.46 * 0.41 * 0.61 * 0.66 * 0.62 *

Condence interval (0.15; (0.16; (0.14; (0.09; (0.09; (0.12; (0.22; (0.47; (0.71; (0.47; 0.27) 0.21) 0.23) 0.17) 0.18) 0.20) 0.60) 0.75) 0.86) 0.77)

Dif. x2 (g.l.) 91.174 321.272 125.548 92.554 61.909 121.095 21.999 53.847 116.790 52.591 (1) (1) (1) (1) (1) (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)

p , 0.001 , 0.001 , 0.001 , 0.001 , 0.001 , 0.001 , 0.001 , 0.001 , 0.001 , 0.001

Note: *Signicant to level 0.01

Table IV. Convergent and discriminatory validity for internet banking

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while the second one considers that image perceived will also have a positive and signicant effect on consumer trust for internet banking. The results showed that H1 was accepted since the relation between image and trust was signicant and with the expected sign (see Figure 1). As for the second hypothesis (H2) the standard parameter was signicant and with the expected orientation, so we also accepted this hypothesis for the analysis (see Figure 2). Lastly, the t measurement showed values close to the recommended ones (for traditional banking, NFI 0.93; NNFI 0.95; CFI 0.97; RCFI 0.97; RMSEA 0.081 and for internet banking, NFI 0.9; NNFI 0.91; CFI 0.93; RCFI 0.91; RMSEA 0.109). Moreover, mention should be made of the high R 2 reached in both models (0.72 in the case of traditional banking and 0.84 for internet banking).

Figure 1. Causal model for traditional banking

Figure 2. Causal model for internet banking

5.1. Multi-sample analysis H3 and H4 of this work analyze the inuence that the duration of the relationship exercises on the intensity of the inuence exerted by image on the trust of the consumer of nancial services. Specically, H3 evaluates the effect of duration in the case of traditional banking. H4 contrasts the effect of duration in the case of internet banking. To carry out these studies use was made of multi-sample analysis. This technique, based on the development of structural equation models, enables us to check the existence of signicant differences among various groups. In the case of traditional banking the total sample was divided into four groups, dened by the quartiles of a variable that measures the duration of the relationship between the consumer and his/her bank. The division into four groups enabled us to determine whether there was any increasing or diminishing tendency over time with regard to the intensity of the effect of image on trust. In the case of internet banking the division was not made in terms of quartiles but based on the average of a variable that measures the duration of the relationship. The rationale in following this kind of division, instead of the previous one, is because of a variety of factors. Firstly, the sample of internet banking users was not sufciently broad. Thus, the creation of four groups would have shown a sample of insufcient size to permit working with the technique of multi-sample analysis. Secondly, the mean duration of the relationship in the case of internet banking was much lower than that observed in traditional banking. The groups formed in the case of internet banking would have changed in a very short time, which would have made the observation of differences among four groups problematic. On the other hand, in traditional banking the four groups recorded more signicant differences (the rst quartile was located in 48 months, the second in 96 months and the third in 180 months). Table V shows the results for the groups of traditional banking users. In the rst place the fulllment of H1 in each of the four groups formed was observed. In the second place the differences between each pair of groups with regard to the effect of image on trust were analyzed. Between the group of users whose relationship with the bank was more recent (rst group) and the next group, there were no differences that might be considered statistically signicant (probability . 0.05). We observed the same behavior between the second and the third group, as well as between the third group and the fourth, and the rst and the fourth groups. With these results it is possible to state that the duration of the relationship does not appear to affect the inuence of image on trust in the distribution of nancial services by traditional channels. Consequently, H3 must be accepted. Moreover, we should point out the notable structural model t obtained (CFI 0.926; IFI 0.927; RMSEA 0.08). Table VI shows the results for the sample of consumers of internet banking. In the same way as previously, the positive effect of image on trust was tested in all the groups (H2). Nevertheless, unlike what was observed in the case of the distribution of nancial services through traditional channels, here we could ascertain signicant differences between the two groups formed (probability , 0.05). Thus, we may consider that the duration of the relationship inuences the intensity of the effect of image on trust in the supply of nancial services through the internet. Specically, the observable intensity of the inuence of image on consumer trust was signicantly higher for those individuals whose experience with virtual banking was more recent.

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Image-trust 0.805 * 0.739 * 0.787 * 0.853 * 9.037 10.563 10.529 11.522 1 1 1 1

First group (R 2 0:63) (X , 48 months) Second group (R 2 0:72) (48 , X , 96 months) Third group (R 2 0:78) (96 , X , 180 months) Fourth group (R 2 0:73) (X . 180 months)

Constraints Differences between Differences between Differences between Differences between

Note: *Signicant to level 0.01

Table V. Multi-sample analysis results for traditional banking Non standardized coefcients T-value d.f. x2 Difference Probability Hypotheses H1 H1 H1 H1 0.032 0.326 1.095 0.456 0.857 0.568 0.295 0.499 H3 H3 H3 H3 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

rst and second group second and third group third and fourth group rst and fourth group

Therefore, H4 must be accepted. Finally, acceptable levels in the t indicators were observed (CFI 0.878; IFI 0.882; RMSEA 0.08). 6. Conclusions The traditional literature has considered that corporate image and consumer trust are determinant factors in purchasing behavior (e.g. Ratnasingham, 1998; Rexha et al., 2003; Lehu, 2001; Ba, 2001). This fact is especially relevant in nancial services distribution, given that the level of risk that the consumer associates with these types of products is higher (Mukherjee and Nath, 2003). This greater level of risk is due to two fundamental factors. The rst has to do with the particular characteristics of the services (Liu and Wei, 2003): intangibility, inseparability, heterogeneity and expiration. The second deals with the nature of nancial service that is considered by the consumer as a type of service capable of inuencing his/her wealth in a more direct and signicant way than another kind of service (e.g. leisure). Nevertheless, in spite of the importance accorded by researchers to the concepts of image and trust in the distribution of nancial services, until now there have been no empirical studies that have analyzed the precursor role of corporate image on the level of trust demonstrated by consumers. This study has analyzed how the corporate image of a nancial institution inuences the trust that a customer places in it. Specically, it has evaluated how this relationship of image-trust manifests itself in the distribution of nancial services by means of traditional channels as well as in distribution via the internet. In addition, it has analyzed the moderating role of the duration of the relationship on the intensity of the inuence of corporate image on levels of trust. Corporate image is composed by ve dimensions (access to services, services offered, personal contact, security and reputation). These dimensions are proposed by LeBlanc and Nguyen (1996). Moreover, some of these dimensions are related to articles that have studied the online banking acceptance. On the basis of TAM literature, Pikkarainen et al. (2004) develop a model indicating online banking acceptance among private banking customers in Finland. The results show that perceived usefulness (similar to access to services) and information on online banking on the web site (similar to services offered) were the main factors inuencing online-banking acceptance. Shih and Fang (2004) examine two versions of the model of the theory of planned behavior (TPB) pure and decomposed and compared to the theory of reasoned action (TRA). The results suggest that attitude, that is, an individuals

Consumer trust

461

Image-trust Less duration (R 2 0:738) More duration (R 2 0:571) Constraints Image-trust

Non standardized coefcients T-value d.f. x2 difference Probability Hypotheses 0.818 * 0.419 * 7.377 4.752 1 5.152 0.023 H2 Yes H2 Yes H4 Yes Table VI. Multi-sample analysis results for internet banking

Note: *Signicant coefcients to level 0.01

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condence that internet banking represents speedier and more convenient transactions, is a good predictor of online banking acceptance. The obtained results show that corporate image is a factor that signicantly inuences the trust that customers place in a nancial institution, as much in the case of a traditional bank as in a bank that operates on the internet. Furthermore, we have shown that the duration of the relationship plays a fundamental role in the intensity with which the inuence of image on trust manifests itself. The results show that in the case of internet banking the relationship between image and trust is closer at the beginning of the relationship, lessening signicantly the longer the customer maintains a relationship with the bank. Nevertheless, in the case of traditional banking, the results show that the duration of the relationship between the customer and the bank has no inuence on the intensity of the link between image and trust. 6.1. Managerial implications The discovery that image exerts signicant inuence on the trust that a consumer places in a nancial institution presents important implications for the administration of these types of companies and especially for Internet banking. From this perspective, corporate image becomes a key tool for the management of trust in internet banking. First, it is necessary to point it out that the image should not be managed just as a whole, but that consideration must be given to each of the elements that comprise it. Thus, in the management of the corporate image of internet banking it is essential that the decision-makers clearly understand the role played by different elements in the formation of the banks corporate image, and how the behavior and trust demonstrated by the consumers may vary when faced with variations in each of the factors that comprise its image. Therefore, when undertaking the strategic planning of a company it is necessary to be aware of the corporate image that is being transmitted, or that the company intends to transmit, so that it can be managed in the most effective way. In this process, the attempt to make the nancial services as tangible as possible, most especially those of the banks that operate on the internet, becomes extremely important. In this respect, the establishment of bricks-and-mortar branch ofces so that customers can obtain advice if they wish, and above all so that the customers have the possibility of meeting with a physical person that they view as representing the organization is a possibility to be considered. Secondly, the importance of the role that the length of the relationship plays in the degree of the inuence of corporate image on consumer trust must be stressed. Internet banks must create suitable conditions so that their potential customers can break that initial barrier to entry. To achieve this, they must offer favorable experiences with the system (ONeill et al., 2003), which undoubtedly will enable the users initial trust to increase, and thus strengthen the probability that the relationship will endure over time. Likewise, it is the responsibility of these nancial institutions to concern themselves with the fact that, once their customers begin to use the internet to do their banking activities, this channel must not present failures that could affect the image of the bank and consequently the consumer trust. Nevertheless, individual institutions working in isolation are not promoting a general perception that the nancial distribution system on the internet is a low risk option. On the contrary there must be a concerted effort by all companies in the industry to generate a culture of trust. Marketing literature notices

that consumer trust depends on the perceptions of honesty, benevolence and competence (e.g. Morgan and Hunt, 1994; Ratnasingham, 1998). Consequently, efforts are necessary to strengthen the available actives in order to offer more value to customers.

Consumer trust

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Origin/adapted Easy to use Necessary time to carry out the transactions Convenience in the service Banks schedule Possibility to make complaints Cruz Cruz Cruz Cruz Cruz

Access to services ACCT1

ACCT2

ACCT3

ACCT4

Appendix. Measurement scales

ACCT5

Evans (1991); Evans (1991); Evans (1991); Evans (1991); Evans (1991); Cruz Cruz Cruz Cruz Cruz

(1979); Mandel et al. (1981); Alonso and Llorca (1995) (1979); Mandel et al. (1981); Alonso and Llorca (1995); LeBlanc and Nguyen (1996) (1979); Mandel et al. (1981); Alonso and Llorca (1995) (1979); Mandel et al. (1981); Alonso and Llorca (1995) (1979); Mandel et al. (1981); Alonso and Llorca (1995)

Services offered SERT1 Quantity of products and services available Attractiveness of the products and services offered Interest received on savings Interest paid on loans Commission paid for services

SERT2

SERT3

SERT4

SERT5

Evans (1991); Evans (1991); Evans (1991); Evans (1991); Evans (1991);

(1979); Mandel et al. (1981); Alonso and Llorca (1995); LeBlanc and Nguyen (1996) (1979); Mandel et al. (1981); Alonso and Llorca (1995) (1979); Mandel et al. (1981); Alonso and Llorca (1995) (1979); Mandel et al. (1981); Alonso and Llorca (1995) (1979); Mandel et al. (1981); Alonso and Llorca (1995)

Personal contact PERT1 Friendliness and treatment received Individualized treatment Human contact Financial advice

PERT2

PERT3 PERT4

Evans (1979); Mandel et al. (1981); Alonso and Cruz (1991); Llorca (1995); LeBlanc and Nguyen (1996) Evans (1979); Mandel et al. (1981); Alonso and Cruz (1991); Llorca (1995) New item Evans (1979); Mandel et al. (1981); Alonso and Cruz (1991); Llorca (1995) (continued )

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Table AI. Measurement scales for traditional banking

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PERT5 Security in transactions Security of deposits Security of data

Security SECT1

SECT2

SECT3

Reputation REPT1 I believe that this bank does what it promises for its clients This bank or savings bank has a good reputation I believe that the reputation of this bank or savings bank is better than that of the rest of the companies I trust this company to carry out my cash transactions

REPT2 REPT3

Trust TRUSTT1

TRUSTT2

TRUSTT3

TRUSTT4

TRUSTT5

TRUSTT6

TRUSTT7

TRUSTT8

Note: The questions in italics were eliminated in the renement process

Table AI.
Origin/adapted Accessibility for carrying out consultations New item Evans (1979); Mandel et al. (1981); Parasuraman et al. (1988); Alonso and Cruz (1991); Llorca (1995) Evans (1979); Mandel et al. (1981); Alonso and Cruz (1991); Llorca (1995) New item Nguyen and LeBlanc (2001) Nguyen and LeBlanc (2001) Nguyen and LeBlanc (2001) Moorman et al. (1992); Moorman et al. (1993); Morgan and Hunt (1994) New item lvarez (2003) zquez and A Sanzo; Santos; Va New item Doney and Cannon (1997); Hewett and Bearden (2001) New item Doney and Cannon (1997); Hewett and Bearden (2001) Sanzo et al. (2003) I trust that the operations that I carry out with this business will be exact and without error Doing business with this company gives me complete trust I believe that if an outsider gains access to my account, the bank will take all responsibility for my money This nancial institution is truly concerned with the proper functioning of my investments, transactions and deposits I believe that some risk exists in doing business with this company I believe in the veracity of the information supplied to me by this company I believe that this company respects the condentiality of my personal information and transactions

Origin/adapted Easy to use Necessary time to carry out the transactions Convenience in the service Banks schedule Possibility to make complaints

Access to services ACCI1

ACCI2

ACCI3

ACCI4

ACCI5

Evans (1979); (1991); Llorca Evans (1979); (1991); Llorca Evans (1979); (1991); Llorca Evans (1979); (1991); Llorca Evans (1979); (1991); Llorca

Mandel et al. (1981); Alonso and Cruz (1995) Mandel et al. (1981); Alonso and Cruz (1995); LeBlanc and Nguyen (1996) Mandel et al. (1981); Alonso and Cruz (1995) Mandel et al. (1981); Alonso and Cruz (1995) Mandel et al. (1981); Alonso and Cruz (1995)

Services offered SERI1 Quantity of products and services available Attractiveness of the products and services offered Interest received on savings Interest paid on loans Commission paid for services

SERI2

SERI3

SERI4

SERI5

Evans (1979); (1991); Llorca Evans (1979); (1991); Llorca Evans (1979); (1991); Llorca Evans (1979); (1991); Llorca Evans (1979); (1991); Llorca

Mandel et al. (1981); Alonso and Cruz (1995); LeBlanc and Nguyen (1996) Mandel et al. (1981); Alonso and Cruz (1995) Mandel et al. (1981); Alonso and Cruz (1995) Mandel et al. (1981); Alonso and Cruz (1995) Mandel et al. (1981); Alonso and Cruz (1995)

Security SECI1 Security in transactions Security of deposits Security of data

SECI2

SECI3

Evans (1979); Mandel et al. (1981); Parasuraman et al. (1988); Alonso and Cruz (1991); Llorca (1995) Evans (1979); Mandel et al. (1981); Alonso and Cruz (1991); Llorca (1995) New item (continued )

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Table AII. Measurement scales for internet banking

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Reputation REPI1 Nguyen and LeBlanc (2001) Nguyen and LeBlanc (2001) Nguyen and LeBlanc (2001)

REPI2

REPI3

Trust TRUSTI1

TRUSTI2

TRUSTI3

TRUSTI4

TRUSTI5

TRUSTI6

TRUSTI7

TRUSTI8

Note: The questions in italics were eliminated in the renement process

Table AII. Origin/adapted In general, I believe that this internet nancial institution always fullls the promises that it makes to its customers This Internet nancial institution has a good reputation I believe that the reputation of this Internet nancial institution is superior to its Internet competitors Moorman et al. (1992); Moorman et al. (1993); Morgan and Hunt (1994) New item Sanzo et al. (2003) New item Doney and Cannon (1997); Hewett and Bearden (2001) New item Doney and Cannon (1997); Hewett and Bearden (2001) Sanzo et al. (2003) I trust this company to carry out my transactions through the internet I trust that the operations carried out on the Internet with this institution will be exact and without error The operations carried out with this institution on the internet gives me complete trust I believe that if an outsider gains access to my account, the bank will take complete responsibility for my money This nancial institution is truly concerned with the proper functioning of my investments, transactions and deposits I believe that there is some risk involved in doing business with this Internet company I believe in the veracity of the information given to me by this institution through the internet I believe that this nancial institution respects the condentiality of my personal information and my transactions