Financial services information and intelligence provider Bank Administration Institute (BAI) launched the BAI & Finacle Banking Confidence Index, which tracks the effect of upheaval in the financial services industry on consumers' views. The index measures consumer views across five areas: financial stress and the economy, access to credit, fees and disclosure, managing personal finances and consumer trust. The index's findings, released Tuesday, indicate one-third of consumers feel their financial situation has deteriorated in recent months, but few expect conditions to grow even worse. Of those surveyed, nearly one-third -- or 31% -- indicated access to mortgages is worse now than six months ago, while only 5% said it improved. The projections indicate 12% of respondents expected access to improve in another six months, while 15% expect access to worsen. "In today's fast-changing scenario, consumer opinion counts more than ever before and technology has made the consumer highly empowered," said Haragopal Mangipudi, global head at Finacle, a solution from Infosys (INFY). "Presented with diverse and ever-dynamic consumer segments, banks need to anticipate changing requirements and fine-tune business strategy." The index, to be released biannually, is based on 2,501 interviews conducted across US households in August. Each index will project how consumers expect to feel across all five areas in another six months. Write to Diana Golobay.