Journal of Operational Risk

Does the source of information influence depositors' withdrawal intentions?

Suné Ferreira and Zandri Dickason-Koekemoer

Evolving globalization has made South African banks more efficient and more diverse, giving them the chance to capture new opportunities. However, as banks extend their global reach and grasp these new opportunities, more risk is attached. Advances in technology and the radical spur of social media have changed the manner and speed with which information flows. Depositors base their perceptions (subjective in nature) of a bank on recent information (from various sources) and have the power to ensure or erode the continuity of a bank. Depositor intentions may differ based on their demographics, perception, risk tolerance level or the behavioral finance biases toward which they are subject. However, research is limited when considering how depositors react to risk based on different sources of information. Therefore, the objective of this paper is to identify whether depositors’ intentions to withdraw funds during operational risk events differ based on the source of information. The top three sources of information as chosen by depositors are television broadcasts, printed media and online media. Independent t-tests are performed based on whether depositors chose a particular source of information or not. Depositors will react differently (ie, will be more likely to withdraw funds) when hearing about internal fraud; faulty clients, products or business practices; or damage to physical assets and reputational events from printed media rather than from other sources of information. Concerning depositors’ intentions to withdraw during operational risk events, depositors will not act any differently when hearing about these events from a television broadcast or online media. The novelty of this research paper hinges on the contribution of whether operational events influence depositors’ decisions and which forms of communication channel should be used by banks when building their reputations to mitigate the negative consequences of operational events or to manage a crisis.

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