Confidence in banks inching up from record lows

by Kelli Rogers18 Jun 2013
Americans' confidence in U.S. banks has edged up from record lows, according to a new poll.
 
A Gallup poll has indicated confidence in American banks increased to 26% in June, up from the record low of 21% a year ago. The percentage of Americans saying they have "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in U.S. banks is now at its highest point since June 2008, but remains well below its pre-recession level of 41%, measured in June 2007. 
 
Americans' confidence in banks increased the most this year of any institution.
 
When Gallup first measured confidence in banks in 1979, 60% of Americans had a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in them, a level of confidence that hasn’t been matched since.
 
Americans' confidence in banks may finally be starting to recover from the recession and financial crisis of 2008 to 2009. Americans' perceptions of their banking system generally take a long time to change -- as illustrated by the slow recovery in bank confidence ratings after the savings and loan crisis of the late 80s and early 90s. Behavioral economics suggests a recovery in perceptions from the biggest financial recession since the Great Depression is likely to take an even longer time.
 
It is not clear exactly what is driving Americans' improved confidence in banks, Gallup reports, but most authorities agree that U.S. banks did well on their "stress tests" and that banks' balance sheets are much improved, as are their earnings.
 
Americans' improving perceptions of their banking institutions provides an opportunity for banks, their regulators and their stakeholders to build on and create momentum for increasing Americans' confidence in the U.S. banking system, Gallup reports.

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