06/28/2012 08:42 am ET Updated Jun 28, 2012

American Faith In The Banking Sector Sinks To Record Low: Poll

American faith in Wall Street just hit a record low, but, hey, at least it's not Washington.

Twenty-one percent of Americans reported confidence in U.S. banks, according to a recent Gallup poll. That's roughly half the approval rating reported before the recession, and the lowest percentage since Gallup first began tracking the data.

Yes, the financial industry is now the least-trusted sector in the U.S. economy, but it's still better than Congress. Only 17 percent of Americans approve of the way Congress is handling itself, Gallup reported this month.

Fueling Wall Street's negative public perception were a number of recent PR debacles. Bank of America was hit with intense backlash last year after trying to implement a $5 debit card fee. And after a Goldman Sachs employee resigned via an op-ed in The New York Times, the firm was subject to a slew of criticism over its company culture.

Most recently, JPMorgan Chase admitted to losing billions in a risky trade that may have been prevented by rules the banks' officials oppose.

Banks are doing what they can to restore their reputations, reportedly making internal changes to shift their focus from financial performance to customer and employee satisfaction, according to a March survey.