• 2019 Financial Trust Index increases from 27.6% to 33.3%, showing the highest level of financial trust from the American public since the Index started in 2008
  • Americans report increased satisfaction with the current economic climate
  • Political parties express less trust with the U.S. government
Wave 28 Results

Financial Trust Index


Percentages of people trusting the Government

Percentages of people angry about the current economic situation

Paola Sapienza and Luigi Zingales1

CHICAGO (February 5, 2020)—New data from the Financial Trust Index (FTI), which captures the level of trust that Americans have in institutions, reveals an all-time high level of public trust in financial organizations. Administered by University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, the study also reported an all-time low level of public dissatisfaction with the national economic landscape and a slight decrease in trust of the government.

Overall levels of public trust in financial institutions rose from 27.6% in 2018 to 33.3% in 2019 – the highest measure of trust since the first wave of FTI data was collected in 2008. The growth was largely due to an increase of trust in mutual funds, the stock market and large corporations.

Key findings include:

  • Higher Trust in Corporations: For the first time, trust in large corporations rose above 20%. Although the results persist independently of respondents’ political alignment, the rise was especially prominent among Democrats, whose trust in large corporations almost doubled, surging from 13.6% in 2018 to 24.5% in 2019.

  • Consistent Trust in Banks: Trust in banks remained consistent from last year, at 41%. Among the four different classifications of banks surveyed, credit unions and local banks remained the most trusted institutions, with both entities showing 58%. By contrast, trust in national banks and government-linked banks remained lower, at 38% and 25%, respectively.

  • Higher Overall Satisfaction with the Economy: The percentage of Americans who reported dissatisfaction with the current economy dropped from 27.3% in 2018 to 24.8% in 2019. The percentage of Republican respondents reporting dissatisfaction rose slightly, from 17.5% to 18.1%, while the measure fell one percentage point to 32.6% among Democrats. Nevertheless, the percentage of respondents reporting no dissatisfaction remains high for Republicans (65.3%) and low for Democrats (30.5%).

  • Lower Trust in U.S. Government: Public trust in the U.S. government decreased slightly to 21.5%. This decrease was prevalent in both political parties, with Republicans falling about four percentage points to 22.2% and Democrats falling about two percentage points to 20.2%.

ABOUT THE FINANCIAL TRUST INDEX: The Financial Trust Index was created in 2008 as a means to study changes in trust in the financial industry and the impact of trust on investors’ decisions. The index monitors the annual level of Americans’ trust in institutions and regularly evaluates how current events, policy and government intervention may affect it. The initiative is sponsored jointly by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and is administered by Social Science Research Solutions.

ABOUT THE SURVEY: On an annual basis, the Financial Trust Index captures the level of trust that Americans have in institutions. This study was conducted for the Financial Trust Index via telephone by SSRS, an independent research company. Interviews were conducted during the period of December 17–26, 2019, among financial decision makers. A total of 1,019 interviews were conducted, with a margin of error for total respondents of +/-3.57% at the 95% confidence level. More information about SSRS can be obtained by visiting www.ssrs.com.

1 Paola Sapienza is the Donald C. Clark/HSBC Chair in Consumer Finance Professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Luigi Zingales is the Robert R. McCormack Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance and the Faculty Director of the George J. Stigler Center for the Study of the Economy and the State at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

GSB        Kellogg School of Management