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42% of Americans Want Government to Leave Banks Alone

Survey of 1,000 Americans found that only 26% want to see more government involvement in financial services.

A survey of 1,000 American consumers conducted by market research firm GfK Financial Services finds almost half (42%) would like the government to take a less significant role in the financial services industry. Comparatively, only 26% of respondents say they’d like to see more government involvement.

More respondents on the predominately Democratic West coast report they would prefer to see a lighter federal hand in Wall Street affairs (46%) than their "red state” neighbors in the Midwest (44%) and the South (41%). Additionally, over one third (36%) of Americans who live in the Northeast also prefer less government involvement. To compare, 28% of respondents in the Northeast say they’d actually like to see more of a federal presence as well as 27% in the West, 25% in the Midwest and 23% in the South.

More men (46%) than women (39%) say they prefer less government involvement in the financial services industry. Additionally, while respondents across all age groups agreed they’d like to see less of Uncle Sam on Wall Street, Americans 65 and older were more likely to prefer less government involvement (54%) than younger generations (34% among 18-to 24-year-olds). Results also show that households with the highest reported annual income ($75,000 plus) actually prefer more government involvement (38%) than any other income segment (25% among households that make less than $20,000 annually).

"With the slow economic recovery, the sheen is off the federal stimulus packages,” explains Douglas Cottings, managing director of GfK Financial Services. "Americans are growing weary and earning back their trust in Wall Street and Washington is still a major sticking point. To help turn the tide, it’s critical for financial companies to refocus their time and resources on first repairing the damage to their reputation in order to win back consumer confidence.”

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