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Banks’ sales culture slated

Witnesses at the first Which? Future of Banking Commission session this week attacked the sales culture in bank branches.

The commission is headed by Conservative MP for Haltemprice and Howden David Davis, Treasury select committee chairman John McFall and Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable. Witnesses at the first of three sessions slated banks for their sales culture and their commission-driven practices.

Citizens Advice Bureau chief executive David Harker said “the clock needs to be turned back from banks that are shops that sell things” and instead offer “impartial, generic advice” independent of product selling.

Toynbee Hall head of financial inclusion Sian McLean said banks have a “social responsibility to make sure the products they sell are the correct products for the customer”.

Financial Mail personal finance editor Jeff Prestridge said: “People still trust the staff in branches but they are being abused because the staff are not allowed to treat customers fairly, as is required, and the FSA has stood aside and allowed it to happen.”


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There are 6 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Banks should be banned from selling anything other than cash ISAs, and even that is dubious.

    Having interviewed with them, it is completely sales driven, treating clients fairly is something “independant” Financial advisers worry about.

    As a Chartered Financial adviser, I was treated like a “squint”, as the TV series Bones would put it, and my only concern should be selling to “the punters” as a senior exec put it !

    The banks believe that the rules of the FSA do not apply to them.

    The FSA needs to wake up and tell the banks to stop selling full stop.

    As an industry we are extremeley slow at dragging up our standards; surely its time we got rid of those snake oil sales folks in the bank, with the cheap suits and who look like theyve been tangoed. First port of call would be to ban them from selling anything but bank accounts, unless they are Diploma level qualified.

  2. I echo everything in the first thread – my wife works in a bank as a cashier and they are hammered every day for volume of leads and then they are quizzed over the mix of leads too! They were even told that as the Personal Bankers were going to be able to do Life Cover on an execution only basis soon that they would be expected to get leads for that too – how on earth does getting a client interested in life cover which is then sold execution only fit together? – its a complete disgrace. Also they were told by the Branch Manager to look for clients with direct debits to life companies so they can switch cover!! again on execution only – it gets worse doesn’t it??

  3. How can Banks ‘suggest’ that they provide financial advice and use the term advisor for staff promoting/selling their own limited range of products such as in the NatWest AD on TV?

  4. Couldnt agree more – I has an interview once with a main bank. they admitted that they didnt operate best advice.

    Why is it the FSA turn a blind eye to banks and yet are determined to ruin the IFA?.

    Politics….. all part of the expenses and bung culture in the UK. Too many fools in important positions with fat cats still making a lot of money.

  5. As ever, the biggest problem is that the FSA wants to regulate everything and everybody else on the planet out of existence whilst turning a blind eye to just about anything that the banks get up to. If this isn’t regulatory favouritism and corruption at its most blatant, then it’s hard to think of a worse example.

  6. Has anyone obtained the figures from the Ombudsman for the number of misselling complaints received in the past 2 years and the distribution i.e. % banks v % IFAs? Even better would be the breakdown of complaints by bank.

    I hope the Commission has demanded the data

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