Financial and banking firms were the least trusted industries last year,… (Andrew Gombert / EPA )
Financial services and banks were the least-trusted industries last year, according to a public relations firm's annual survey.
Only 46% of U.S. respondents said they trusted the financial services industry, and only 41% said they trusted banks in 2012, according to PR agency Edelman's annual survey of consumers' trust.
That's still an improvement, however. The perception of the financial and banking industries improved from 2011, when only 25% of U.S. respondents found them trustworthy, Edelman said. That year, those industries edged out the media, which only 22% of respondents said they trusted.
It's been five years since the financial crisis, but major banks nonetheless kept serving up scandals in 2012.
Last year, the public learned of widespread rigging of benchmark interest rates that are tied to just about every type of financial product, including mortgages and swaps. The scandal involving the manipulation of the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate, or Libor, continues to unfold.
Some major banks' reputations were also tarnished by government accusations that they essentially became money-laundering conduits for terrorists and drug cartels, or violated U.S. sanctions by doing business with rogue states like Iran.
And many institutions continue to get hammered by government lawsuits and settlements stemming from the mortgage meltdown and ensuing financial crisis.
The 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer had more than 30,000 online respondents around the world, the agency said.
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