New Survey: Post-Wells Fargo scandals, consumers trust big banks less than they trust Charlie Sheen and Tiger Woods

Poll of Americans finds that Millennials and Generation Z are driving an across-the-board increase in distrust of major banks.

A new poll released today by Aspiration, the socially-conscious online banking and investing company, finds that the Wells Fargo scandals have further increased the distrust that Americans have for big banks.

In the wake of new revelations about the massive Wells Fargo scandals involving the opening of fake accounts and charging of illegal fees, Aspiration’s poll* found that Americans trust big banks even less than they trust scandal-ridden celebrities like Charlie Sheen and Tiger Woods. When choosing from big banks, Congress, used car salesmen, Charlie Sheen, and Tiger Woods, 14% of Americans said they trust big banks the least. Americans showed more faith in Charlie Sheen with 13% selecting him as the least trustworthy and Tiger Woods, who was chosen by 9% of respondents. Big banks still beat out Congress and used car salesmen.

The lack of trust starts with the culprit. Wells Fargo is now the least trusted bank in America, by far. About 44% of Americans say they trust Wells Fargo the least, compared to other major financial institutions such as Bank of America, Chase, Citi, and Capital One. More than three in four Wells Fargo customers (76%) have heard about the recent Wells Fargo scandals, and two-thirds of Wells Fargo customers (65%) now trust their bank less. More than half of Wells Fargo customers (51%) would be willing to switch to another bank, if it was more trustworthy.

The impact of the Wells Fargo scandals stretches beyond just that one bank. They have exacerbated the crisis of confidence in America’s largest financial institutions overall. Of the two-thirds of Americans (66%) who are familiar with what has happened at Wells Fargo, 36% trust their own bank less – even if they are not Wells Fargo customers themselves.

Big banks’ trust gap is being driven by Americans under 35 years of age. These younger Americans are 10% more likely to have less trust in their own bank as a result of the Wells Fargo revelations than Americans over the age of 65 (38% vs. 28%).

This matters a great deal because not only are young people under 35 the banking customers of the future, but they are currently up for grabs. Although most Americans over 65 pick their bank based on the branch closest to them, only 37% of these younger Americans pick based on geography proximity. Instead, empowered by their mobile phones, they pick their bank based on completely different criteria, and they are ready to make a move. Fifty nine percent of 18-to-34 year olds would be willing to switch to a new bank if it were more trustworthy than their current one compared to only 18% of those 65 and over.

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The online survey of 1,100 Americans was conducted by Aspiration through AYTM polling services on September 15, 2017 and has a 95% confidence interval margin of error of +/- 3%.

*Additional poll data from a survey of 942 respondents conducted by Aspiration through Google Consumer Surveys from September 15 to 17, 2017, with a 95% confidence interval margin of error of -1.9% to +2.1%.

About Aspiration

Since it opened for business in 2015, Aspiration has become one of the fastest growing banking and investing firms in America, now adding thousands of new customers every week. Its revolutionary “Pay What Is Fair” business model trusts customers to choose the fee they pay, even if it is zero. Its Aspiration Impact Measurement (AIM) feature allows its banking customers to see their own personal Sustainability Score and the impact of their spending on people and the planet. Aspiration is also one of the most charitable financial firms in America, donating 10% of its earnings to microloans and mentoring for low-income Americans. For more information, visit and