Turns out Australian banks are concerned that their customers have greater confidence and trust in Google and PayPal than in their own institutions.
It wasn’t that long ago that financial institutions needed marble-clad offices and multi-decade histories to show that they were serious and were financially stable and could be trusted. Now the organisations that generate trust are barely a decade old and interact with customers in a purely virtual form.
“If Google got up and said we are going to offer a savings account, for me, that would be very difficult and confronting,”
I already use and love Google Checkout, which allows me to purchase items quickly from a variety of sites without having to enter (or share!) my credit card information with the new merchant. I honestly wish all merchants supported it.
PayPal has had a difficult history in South Africa, given that only very recently have we been able to withdraw funds from PayPal (and only via FNB even now). Still, I trust them more than most merchants.
One reason I might be concerned about Google as a bank is that since it would be so internationally successful, it would be an insanely attractive target for hackers. The number of attack vectors that would be pointed its way would be particularly concerning. (Yes, I’m writing this from a virtually virus-immune Mac for similar reasons.)
All companies must focus on trust and genuine relationships with clients, but no more so than financial services companies.