Trust in financial institutions has been severely eroded by the financial crisis, but a new survey has found that the majority of Americans find statements by spokespeople from accounting firms believable.

Majorities of Americans find statements by spokespersons from accounting firms (62 percent), banks (57 percent) and investment firms (52 percent) somewhat believable, according to a Harris Poll survey of 2,755 U.S. adults, who were surveyed online between April 12 and 19 by Harris Interactive.

On the other hand, almost two thirds of Americans (64 percent) said that they find statements made by a spokesperson from a credit card company not at all believable. Majorities said the same about statements made by spokespersons for both government agencies that regulate financial institutions (53 percent) and mortgage companies (51 percent).

Health insurance companies divide people, as just under half (49 percent) said that they would find a statement by one of their spokespeople somewhat believable and 49 percent would find it not at all believable.

DIFFERING BELIEFS

The poll also found generational differences in attitudes. So-called "Echo Boomers," those aged 18-33, are across the board more likely to find statements made by these companies more believable than older generations. Three quarters of Echo Boomers (74 percent) find statements made by accounting firms to be believable (completely or somewhat) compared to 63 percent of Gen Xers (those aged 34-45).

Almost two thirds of the youngest generation (65 percent) said that they find statements by the government agencies that regulate financial institutions to be believable. That's compared to 43 percent of Gen Xers, 41 percent of Baby Boomers (those aged 46-64) and 36 percent of Matures (those aged 65 and older) who said the same.

Republicans and Democrats also display some differences over how believable they find statements by those in the financial world. Seven out of 10 Democrats (70 percent) and two thirds of independents (66 percent) said that they do not find any statement by credit card companies to be believable, compared to 56 percent of Republicans who said the same.

Two thirds of Republicans (65 percent) said that they do not find statements made by government agencies that regulate financial institutions to be believable, compared to 40 percent of Democrats.

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