Even as the economy turns up, the public’s view of Wall Street has continued to sour. Among the country’s most prominent corporations, big banks’ reputations have fallen the fastest over the past year, according to an annual survey by Harris Interactive that tracks consumer perceptions.
Bank of America’s particularly sharp drop-off is probably due to the huge public backlash against its move to impose fees on debit-card users. It relented and dropped the fees, but the resentment has apparently lingered. The other standout is Berkshire Hathaway — the only firm in the bottom five not enmeshed in the financial meltdown, but whose chairman, Warren Buffett, is center stage in Washington’s fight over taxes.
By contrast, big auto giants were among the companies whose reputations improved the most over the past year.
Harris Interactive points out that the “most improved” category reflects companies who’ve managed to rehabilitate their reputations after PR disasters in 2010, including Toyota, after its safety problems, and BP, after the oil spill.
Overall, Apple was considered “the most reputable brand,” surpassing Google, the previous leader that now ranks second.
(h/t Dealbook’s Kevin Roose)