Bank PRs unfriend Facebook

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It’s hard to imagine it was ever a good idea – setting up a Facebook page for a bank. Yet several PRs were forced to do just that and are now regretting it.

"It’s a nightmare," says one PR. "It takes six hours before you can go in and delete the public’s comments." And comment they do.

Take RBS’s page, where the most recent post said: "This bank has ruined people’s lives just like mine. Thanks a bunch." Or Wells Fargo’s, where one disgruntled customer responded to the bank’s venture to empower customers with: "WTF? How about empowering me? I only wanted a $3k loan." And Bank of America’s page, while boasting the most ‘likes’ with more than 550,000, is plastered with comments such as "this bank sucks".

Just what to post on a bank’s Facebook page from a PR perspective doesn’t seem to have been agreed upon yet. Credit Suisse’s is really a fan page for Roger Federer, while Deutsche Bank posts photos of fruit arranged in a smiley face.

Very bold PR teams have gone one step further by creating a page of the bank CEO – and Citi has been the bravest. Vikram Pandit has a managed page and, while inciting the obvious comments under his video on responsible finance, also has many adoring posts, and 5,312 likes. Jamie Dimon’s page is empty bar a photo, yet has about 50 more likes than Pandit’s. Lloyd Blankfein has a mere 609 likes but does stand out by also having a satirical fan page dedicated to his brilliance.

As one PR person says: "We keep being told to tweet and use Facebook, but we’re expecting that message to wane soon."