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Edelman survey: Americans find government, financial sectors to be least trustworthy

A recent survey revealed that, across all industries, Americans have the least trust in government and financial and banking industries.

Only 46 percent of Americans said in the 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer that they trusted the financial services industry, while only 41 percent of respondents said that they trusted banks, the Los Angeles Times reports.

U.S. public trust in government fell by eight percent, making it the least trusted institution.

“We’re clearly experiencing a crisis in leadership,” Edelman President and CEO Richard Edelman said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Business and governmental leaders must change their management approach and become more inclusive by seeking the input of employees, consumers, activists and experts such as academics, and adapting to their feedback. They must also pass the test of radical transparency.”

Public perception of the financial and banking industries did see some improvement from 2011, when only 25 percent of Americans said that they trusted the industries, though it did surpass the media in trustworthiness. Only 22 percent of U.S. respondents in 2011 found the media to be trustworthy, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, a number of bank scandals have emerged, including the widespread manipulation of Libor, a key benchmark rate used to price trillions of dollars of derivatives. The government also accused some of the largest banks of money laundering for drug cartels and terrorists, as well as the violation of U.S. sanctions through business with nations like Iran.

Many financial firms also continue to become entangled in government lawsuits and settlements relating to the burst of the housing bubble and resulting housing crisis, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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