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Banks revving up the PR machine

March 25, 2010 |  9:59 am

Earlier this month, we described the first efforts by big banks to confront the mistrust of ordinary Americans with new marketing campaigns. Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit went on a new Citi blog to take responsibility for "what we didn't do correctly" before and during the financial crisis.

Since then, financial institutions have become more active on this front. Bloomberg reported this week that the Financial Services Roundtable, a group that represents 150 of the biggest financial firms, is launching a wide-ranging campaign to convince customers that they are trustworthy.

“The only ones out there talking are our critics, and it’s our turn to set the record straight,” Scott Talbott, the Roundtable's chief lobbyist, told Bloomberg. 

In seeking advertising firms to run the campaign, the Roundtable wrote, “Past experience in successful reputation enhancement campaigns is valued.”

The Roundtable's campaign will focus largely on social media. This move by banks onto Twitter and Facebook is also the focus of a story in Fortune this week.  As Fortune notes, though, banks are only beginning to catch up with the work of critics online. One of the most notable such critics is Larry Rubinoff, who runs, a website that aims “to demonstrate how destructive [Goldman Sachs is] to our lives and the hopes and dreams of our children.”

Fortune asks, "Can the financial industry tweet or blog its way out of a bad rep?"

-- Nathaniel Popper