Reflecting their deep turmoil during the past two years, the banking and insurance industries rank as the least trusted in the U.S., with banks recording the only slide in faith the past year, according to the inaugural 2010 Edelman Financial Services U.S. Trust Barometer.

Ninety-three percent believe there are problems in the financial services industry that need to be addressed, and 63% think financial institutions need more regulation.

The survey—conducted among 500 college-educated adults ages 25 to 64 who reported significant media and business news consumption—also found that “quality of communications” and “customer  service” rank as important as “price” and “performance.”

Based on Edelman’s previous Global Trust Barometer surveys, conducted since 2001, Edelman President and CEO Matthew Harrington said, “We’ve seen significant changes in how people evaluate corporate reputations and the factors they view as most important in shaping their decisions. Just three years ago, financial performance ranked as the top criterion for all U.S. companies. It now scores at the bottom, replaced by transparency and trust.”

In the survey, community/regional banks ranked as the most trusted financial institutions in the U.S., followed by mutual fund and life insurance companies, which were close behind.

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