Credit unions still hold an edge over banks when it comes to trustworthiness, according to the latest consumer poll conducted by the college-based Chicago Booth/Kellogg School Financial Trust Index.
In its quarterly findings, the Index said 62% of American consumers surveyed in the last quarter said they trusted CUs compared to 57% for local banks, 35% for national banks, and 27% for banks in which the government has a stake.
The survey was conducted by researchers affiliated with the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and the Kellogg School of Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.
The poll found that overall trust in America's financial system is at its highest point since the survey began in 2008, with 26% of Americans saying they trust the financial system. That's a three-percentage-point hike from March's index.
The percentage of consumers who trust CUs has steadily risen since the survey began, said a release. CUs were four percentage points above from their position as most-trusted in March. In December, credit unions were trusted by 56% of consumers surveyed, and in March, they were trusted by 58%.
In the March poll, credit unions were the only institutions that experienced an increase in consumers' trust. In the latest survey, all four types of institutions saw the level of trust rise. Banks-especially the bottom-feeder national banks and banks with a government stake-experienced bigger percentage-point increases.
Index co-author Luigi Zingales, a professor of entrepreneurship and finance at the University of Chicago, noted that trust in financial institutions has increased overall "in all areas we measure, including banks, the stock market and mutual funds, and notably also went up in relation to large corporations despite pervasive headlines about the BP oil spill."