WASHINGTON, DC: US consumers are today twice as likely to have a positive view of banks and financial institutions as they were five years ago, but overall they remain sceptical of these organisations.

According to Pew Research Center, some 47% of US adults regarded them in a negative light in 2015, while 40% felt they had a positive effect on the way things were going in the country.

That latter figure marked a near doubling from the mere 22% who had expressed positive sentiments in a 2010 survey.

The highest ratings came from Millennials, 45% of whom were complimentary about these institutions, up from a figure of 35% in 2010.

Other age groups had seen more dramatic improvements from a lower base: Gen X up from 22% to 40%; Boomers up from 17% to 39%; and Silents up from 14% to 37%.

"Evaluations of large corporations have similarly improved among Millennials, though they also remain more negative than positive," Pew noted. Labour unions and, especially, small business, were held in higher regard by most consumers.

While technology companies were widely seen as having a positive impact on the country, a generation gap was evident. Some 77% of Millennials and nearly as many Xers (73%) and Boomers (70%) felt this way compared with a smaller majority of Silents (59%).

Pew also highlighted two institutions whose standing with Millennials has deteriorated markedly over the past five years.

Since 2010, Millennials' rating of churches and other religious organisations has declined by 18 percentage points, while those of other age groups has crept upwards. In 2015, just 55% of Millennials said churches had a positive impact; five years ago the figure was 73%.

The other institution attracting greater opprobrium from this age group was the national news media, which had seen a 13 percentage point drop in positive sentiment from 40% to 27%.

Among the remaining groups, the decline was less dramatic – from 29% to 26% for Gen X, from 27% to 26% for Silents and from 27% to 23% for Boomers.

Data sourced from Pew Research Center; additional content by Warc staff