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

Plus Bank within the last six months

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

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.

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 in what circumstances was said about Plus Bank in July?

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

On July 8th, reports emerged that individuals from a commercial bank were detained by the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau. They were allegedly involved in granting a loan and attempting to extort undue VAT, and these individuals were identified as employees of Plus Bank, as per unofficial sources. (Quote from Business Insider). The press articles have triggered a wave of comments that were covering ever wider topics – up to manifesting anger and disgust with politicians. Another increase was on 24 July: on that day, 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 news were widely commented under the posts and articles revealing the course of the case. Comments came mostly from ordinary Internet users, and often were 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 about Zygmunt Solorz’s decision to recapitalize the bank. These reports did not provoke a wider reaction on the Internet (only on July 15 can we notice a certain increase in the number of mentions, there were just 83 of them).

Emotions on the Internet

The above graph shows the results of the emotion analysis, namely comparisons between the number of mentions expressing particular emotions in a given month with the numbers measured the previous month. What is the score? In February, Plus Bank generated slightly fewer emotions than in January, in March it was even lesser… Only in May, there were mentions and discussions expressing many emotions, mostly 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 helping their financial liquidity.

Let’s compare May (involving talks on various financial issues, sometimes even the politics) and July – when one writes about crimes committed in Plus Bank’s branch, and at the same time raises plenty of political issues. In both cases, there is an increase in the number of mentions carrying different emotions, but they have an entirely different overtone. In May, the number of mentions expressing positive and negative emotions increased comparably. In July, however, we noticed there was a strong increase in the statements’ number, expressing repulsion, anger, fear, and sadness. If we look again at the graph number one in our text, we can also see 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.

Finance, politics, and crime

Analysis of changes in the number of mentions together 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:

  • how big (but not lasting long though) changes of emotions about important issues and business entities can be publicly discussed. When we wrote about the KNF scandal, we analyzed 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 spike in interest in Plus Bank and the one-day surge in negative mentions may have pleased those associated with the brand, but it didn’t engage a broader audience. 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 pieces 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 institution’s Opole branch become the first, basic association with the bank.

Our survey revealed a crucial finding: an increase in mentions doesn’t always indicate a shift in the tone of discussions on a topic. Emotions can be changed 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 pictured the difference between the increased interest resulting from various reasons. The introduction of a new product or regulation (May) caused many emotions, but the positive and negative ones were equally frequent. Only a crisis, in this case, accusing some employees of acting harming the bank and the state, generates above all an increase in the number of mentions expressing strong negative emotions.