A Bit More Confidence in Banks

Given the collapse this autumn in affluent Americans’ confidence in banks, it’d be bad news if their opinion of that sector were still worsening. So, it must count as just modestly good news that their confidence in banks has instead improved — a little.

Since early September, Gallup has been asking people with $100,000-plus in investable assets to say how much confidence they have in U.S. banks. Early that month, a five-day rolling average of the findings showed respondents more likely to have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in banks (as 41 percent did) than to have “very little” confidence (15 percent). By the end of September, the lines on the graph had crossed, with respondents more apt to have “very little” confidence (31 percent) than “a great deal/quite a lot” (25 percent).

Now, in a report released this week, the latest available five-day average shows a modest improvement in confidence, with “great deal/quite a bit” again outpointing “very little,” by 34 percent to 25 percent. While scarcely a ringing endorsement, these figures at least suggest that affluent Americans will be less tempted to pull their money out of banks and sew it into their mattresses. (Still, wouldn’t a mattress with a built-in money pouch be a hot item these days?)