Poll Finds Americans Trust Banks Even Less

Americans are trusting banks less while their trust in credit unions has stayed pretty much the same, according to poll results released Thursday (Oct. 30) by the The Harris Poll.

The poll, based on 2,537 U.S. adults surveyed online between August 13 and 18, 2014, delved into the differences between perceptions about regional versus national banks and how age impacted those perceptions.

“Local credit unions and local/community banks are the most trusted institutions, with over three-quarters of Americans having some or a great deal of trust in them (77 percent & 76 percent, respectively). Local branches of regional banks come in third, with 70 percent having at least some trust in them. Local credit unions are more trusted by Matures and Baby Boomers (85 percent & 83 percent, respectively), than by Gen X’ers and Millennials (76 percent & 69 percent, respectively). The same is true for local branches of regional banks (77 percent Matures & 74 percent Baby Boomers vs. 68 percent Gen X’ers & 66 percent Millennials),” the poll report said. “Big national banks rank second to last, having the trust of only 50 percent of Americans. Meanwhile, 42 percent state they have no trust at all or very little trust in these institutions. However, a slightly larger percent (61 percent) trust local branches of these banks. Online-only banks are seen as the least trustworthy, with only 39 percent of Americans having at least some trust and 47 percent having no or very little trust in them. Younger generations (42 percent of both Millennials & Gen X’ers) are more likely to trust online-only banks, compared with just 30 percent of Matures. There is also a regional divide. Those in the East and West are more likely to trust these institutions, compared with adults in both the Midwest and South (46 percent East, 44 percent West vs. 36 percent Midwest, 33 percent South).”

The report also found trust differences changing based on the activity.

“When making a check or cash deposit, an in-person experience with a bank teller is the preferred method (49 percent & 54 percent, respectively). ATMs are favored by 58 percent of adults for cash withdrawals. An online experience through an automated portal is preferred by 56 percent of Americans when making a transfer between accounts,” the report said. “Interestingly, most Americans prefer to phone it in when it comes to the rest of the financial transactions tested. For requesting a credit line increase, disputing a charge, cancelling a check, requesting a new card, and reporting a lost or stolen card, speaking on the phone with a live person is the preferred method by the highest percentage of Americans (20 percent, 36 percent, 29 percent, 28 percent, & 46 percent, respectively).”