Plus Bank – crisis analysis

We show how the analysis of emotions is intensified discussion or crisis. We analyse the references to Plus Bank. In July 2019, we write about the investigation of extortion, financial problems and dismissal of high-level employees. However, highly emotional discussions about this bank have already taken place before.

Plus Bank in the last six months

We’ll start this time with a chart and sentiment analysis. A lot has been written about Plus Bank only since the beginning of July 2019, when it turned out that some employees of the Opole branch were involved in criminal activities.

Plus Bank - wzrost liczby wzmianek i zmiana ich wydźwięku

However, the above chart shows not only the number of mentions but also the number of those expressing emotions of high arousal (bars). Their percentage share in the total pool of mentions published about the bank increased significantly (line). In July it reached 40%, 10% more than in January, when a lot was also written about the institution. It should be noted, however, that in January there was a discussion about “HIT” and in July about a criminal affair.

Plus Bank - analiza sentymentu

As for the proportion of negative and positive mentions, it remained unchanged for most of the half-year under review. Only June and July bring an increase in the (still prevailing) number of statements expressing negative sentiment. We can treat this change as a symptom of the crisis – in July, only 22% of the references are positive.

What and when was said in July

Plus Bank - liczba wzmianek w lipcu

In July, however, the mentions did not appear every day. As you can see, most of them were written on 8 July – it was then that the first journalistic reports about the possibility of committing a crime in Opole appeared. Earlier reports (also those with high agitation) concerned, as in January, deposits and their interest rates, including a comparison of Plus’ and competitors’ offers.

The increase in the number of mentions, i.e. the intensification of public discussion about the bank, began on July 8th with reports that “the persons from a commercial bank who were detained by the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau with the granting of a loan and an attempt to extort undue VAT are employees of Plus Bank,” PAP learnt unofficially. (Quote from Business Insider). The press articles have triggered a wave of comments covering ever wider topics – up to manifesting anger and disgust with politics and politicians. Another increase was on 24 July, when the CBA arrested the former director of credit.

The public discussion on crimes committed in the Plus Bank branch seems not to evoke a lasting social response. On the one hand, both on 8th and 24th July there were many comments (under posts and articles about the course of the case) from ordinary Internet users, often very emotional. On the other hand, the number of mentions was rapidly decreasing. On the 9th of July there were only 137 (1623 the previous day), while on the 25th of July there were 27 published, compared to 199 on the day of the development of the investigation. Interestingly, between 10 and 15 July a lot was written in the trade and national press about Zygmunt Solorz’s decision to recapitalise the bank. These reports did not provoke a wider reaction on the Internet (only on July 15 can we speak of a certain increase in the number of mentions, there were 83 of them).

Emotions on the Internet

Emocje wokół Plus Banku

The above graph shows the results of the analysis of emotions, namely comparisons of the number of mentions expressing particular emotions in a given month compared to the previous one. And so in February Plus Bank generated slightly less emotions than in January, in March even less… It was only in May that there were mentions and discussions expressing many emotions, usually trust. This month we did not have to deal with the outbreak of any scandal. There was an intense discussion about deposit interest rates, the “credit reservation” service and the KNF’s ideas on controlling the banks’ work and help their financial liquidity.

Let’s compare May (talks on various financial issues, sometimes involving politics) and July – when one writes about crimes committed in Plus Bank’s branch, and at the same time raises a lot of political issues. In both cases, there is an increase in the number of mentions carrying different emotions, but they have a completely different overtone. In May, the number of mentions expressing positive and negative emotions increased comparably. In July there is a stronger increase in the number of statements expressing repulsion, anger, fear and sadness. If we look again at the first graph in this text, we can also see that the temperature of the discussion has changed: in May a little more than 30% of the mentions have a high arousal, in July more than 40%. At the same time, we have to remember that these results are actually influenced only by the mentions published on 8 and 24 July. These are the only days when we can talk about a potential crisis situation.

Finance, politics and crime

Analysis of changes in the number of mentions combined with the analysis of emotions are excellent tools for monitoring the condition of the company and the state of public discussion.

In this article we have managed to show, first, how big, but not lasting, changes of emotions can be publicly discussions about important issues and business entities. When we wrote about the KNF scandal, we analysed the changes in the overtones of statements about the Commission and their impact on the WIG-Banks index. We also showed the fluctuations of this “emotional share price”. For Plus Bank, we assumed that we were looking at the crisis because we were talking about committing a crime – but it turned out that the increase in interest was short-lived. The emotions appearing on the occasion of subsequent press reports did not last longer than one day, as did the increased frequency of mentioning the bank online.

The short term of interest in Plus Bank and basically the one-day increase in the number of mentions of negative features on the one hand makes people connected with the brand happy – a wide audience did not take a deeper interest in the matter. On the other hand, Plus Bank has never been mentioned much – in the period from January to June, an average of 690 mentions per month, which gives about 23 per day. In such a case, even a one-time increase in interest and the number of negative statements may affect the general perception of the bank and brand awareness. Crimes committed in the Opole branch of the institution may become the first, basic association with the bank.

The second important discovery shown in this small survey of emotions and opinions is to show that an increase in the number of mentions does not necessarily mean a change in the overtones of conversations on a given topic – and vice versa. Emotions can change significantly, although there are still about the same number of mentions. In May, there were no significant more mentions of Plus Bank than in the previous months, but these statements expressed emotions more often than in April or March.

Finally, we also showed the difference between the increased interest resulting from various reasons. The introduction of a new product or regulation (May) caused a lot of emotions, but the positive and negative ones were equally frequent. Only a crisis situation, in this case accusing some employees of acting to the detriment of the bank and the state, generates above all an increase in the number of mentions expressing strong negative emotions.