Barclays global retail banking chief executive Antony Jenkins has been accused of “living in a parallel universe” after he defended the banking sector against charges of misselling and high-pressure sales tactics.
At a Which? Future of Banking Commission hearing earlier this week, bosses from high-street banks gave evidence to the panel, led by Tory MP David Davis and Treasury select committee chairman John McFall.
Which? said it has amassed many examples of customers not being treated fairly by highstreet banks when sold financial products but Jenkins argued that these cases are in the “minority”.
He said: “Misselling is a very serious problem but there is absolutely no benefit at all for us to sell a product that the customer neither wants nor needs. We want a long-term relationship with our customers.”
He said when he visits branches, he finds colleagues are “very keen to get the customer the right product” and “might even raise things to their attention like, do you have enough life insurance? I do not claim perfection but we have a good culture and we put the customer at the centre at everything we do.”
But Capital Economics managing director Roger Bootle said: “It seems like you live in a parallel universe. We have lots of evidence from members of the public of what the banking experience is like and then we listen to you and it sounds like Barclays is something like the Samaritans, all cuddly and friendly. This does not quite gel.”
McFall said he had personal experience of “aggressive selling” by Barclays of payment protection insurance, which prompted the TSC to look into the products.