To read this content please select one of the options below:

Affective and cognitive factors that hinder the banking relationships of economically vulnerable consumers

Marta de la Cuesta-González (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Madrid, Spain)
Beatriz Fernandez-Olit (University of Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain)
Isabel Orenes-Casanova (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Madrid, Spain)
Juandiego Paredes-Gazquez (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Madrid, Spain)

International Journal of Bank Marketing

ISSN: 0265-2323

Article publication date: 3 May 2022

Issue publication date: 17 November 2022




The aim of this paper is to explore the affective and cognitive factors that condition banking relationships for economically vulnerable consumers and how these factors contribute to increasing financial difficulties and exclusion. This research, performed on a set of focus groups, bases its findings on a combination of experimental and discourse analysis methods.


Financial decisions are not rational and can be biased by affective and cognitive factors. Behavioural finance has focused very little on analysing how consumer biases influence relationships with banking institutions. Additionally, these relationships are affected by the digitalization and transformation of banking business. Thus, in the case of economically vulnerable consumers, who are not profitable for the increasingly competitive banking industry and lack financial abilities, their risk of financial exclusion is increasing.


The results show that distrust and shame lead to financial difficulties in economically vulnerable consumers. Distrust generates problems of access and self-exclusion, while shame generates difficulties of use. This lack of trust makes them more rational when dealing with machines than with people, showing greater banking difficulties for consumers with a “person-suspicious” profile.


This finding can help regulators establish limits on banking behaviour, require banks to incorporate affective and cognitive factors in their convenience tests and detect new variables that can help them improve their insolvency ratios and reputations.



This work was supported by the UCEIF Foundation (Foundation of Bank Santander and University of Cantabria) with a grant for young researchers (2017 edition). The grant was awarded to the project “People in situations of social vulnerability and the digital revolution in financial services: an analysis from behavioral psychology.


de la Cuesta-González, M., Fernandez-Olit, B., Orenes-Casanova, I. and Paredes-Gazquez, J. (2022), "Affective and cognitive factors that hinder the banking relationships of economically vulnerable consumers", International Journal of Bank Marketing, Vol. 40 No. 7, pp. 1337-1363.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles