The Direct Marketing Association's first financial services tracking study found that 33% of consumers list literature received from their banks or building societies as an important source of financial information.
The study, conducted by online research company CCB fast.Map, also discovered that 56% of consumers who use financial comparison websites do so in conjunction with direct mail or literature from their bank or building society.
This compares to 38% of consumers who report using independent websites, 36% who turn to friends and relatives, and nearly 10% who mention marketing emails.
Commissioned by the DMA's financial service council, the study is designed to provide industry practitioners with the latest information on consumers' attitudes to financial brands to help them improve the effectiveness of their direct marketing strategies.
The study is based on an online survey of more than 1,000 consumers selected from CCB fast.Map's panel of 30,000 adults. It will continue to use this sample to monitor consumer activity and opinion to track change in the consumer financial services sector.
Eric Austin, chairman of the DMA financial services council, said: "The report demonstrates that, right now, consumers weigh up the information in comparison and independent websites and track down the best deals; but nevertheless, depend on the printed word delivered to their door to provide the detail.
"They aren't relying on high-impact TV adverts. Unless they go deeper into the data to understand what motivates specific groups of consumers, brands are in danger of missing profitable opportunities."
David Cole, managing director of CCB fast.Map, said: "The credit crunch has greatly eroded trust in the financial services industry. However, despite people's understandable distrust of the industry in general, this research has shown that many have retained faith in the banks, building societies, insurance companies and financial advisers they actually use."