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Which? research: Bank staff still under heavy sales pressure

Peter Vicary Smith BBA Conference 2012 480
Peter Vicary Smith

A Which? investigation suggests the pressure on bank staff to sell financial products has not reduced, despite demands for change from regulators and politicians.

In Which?’s Big Change survey of over 500 front line bank staff, conducted in September, 81 per cent say the pressure to meet sales targets has stayed the same or risen while 66 per cent say they are sometimes, or always, told to sell more. Some 41 per cent say they thought there had been a decrease in the incentives available.

Nearly half, 46 per cent, say they know colleagues had missold products in order to meet sales targets while 40 per cent say they were expected to sell products even when it was not appropriate for the customer.

Staff were interviewed from HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays and Santander.

Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith says: “We are calling on the banks to be much more transparent about their sales targets and incentives.

“Our survey reveals the stark realities of the sales culture that still exists at the heart of the banking industry. Senior bankers say the culture is changing but this shows it just is not filtering through to staff on the front line who remain under real pressure to put sales before service, even after incentives are taken away.”


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There are 11 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Its meet your targets or be fired! And those targets increase each year!

  2. Nicholas Pleasure 7th December 2012 at 8:58 am

    No, really?

    Banks still misselling?

    Well I never…

  3. When RDR comes in Bank staff will still be under pressure to sell. Without IFA’s bank mis selling will increase as banks will be tied . Again well done FSA cdonsumer loses again

  4. RDR? Really Dodgy Retailing!

  5. Peter Davies @ Create Wealth Management 7th December 2012 at 10:17 am

    The government has given off a lot of steam about the banks in the last 5 years. Its fined them several times, bailed them out and even owns part of a couple but despite all this it doesn’t seem able to do what is necessary and bring an end to the immoral sales culture and greed from the top down, that, in many ways, brought about the banking crisis and has an significant impact on the UK’s present dire economic condition. Without such bailouts are debt figures would be looking rather more healthy. Having first hand experience of life in retail banking, albeit 10 years ago, bank bosses have let the UK people down badly. The problem hasnt gone away; the banks seem untouchable, misselling is still occurring, who will stand up to them – the FSA????? 🙂

  6. Peter…No need for the FSA to stand up to them as Hector Sants will be working for one of them soon. I am sure he will sort this one bank out in the same way that he sorted all of the other banks out when he headed up the FSA itself!

  7. Mike the believer. 7th December 2012 at 11:01 am

    Don’t be silly! David Cameron said that the banks are changing and had learnt their lesson and should be trusted. GSA Wheatley said that many of his friends were bankers aid that the banks are changing and had learnt their lesson and should be trusted. This story just couldn’t be correct!!!

  8. Unfortunately the bank staff have always taken the blame from all angles having come from bank assurance myself I know the pressuresthat they operate under and I fully empathise with them.
    It’s a case of sell more or lose your job.

  9. if banks were IFA firms, they’d have been struck off, never to sell any financial products again – they know nothing about them, only how to make money from misselling – they’re a disgrace.

  10. Like Peter Davies, I used to work in retail banking. In my case, that was in the 1980’s though. I became an IFA adviser for a bank in 1992 and after a short time tied to the same bank, when back to IFA in 1998.
    The sales culture at the banks started at about 1990 and it sounds like it hasn’t changed since in left in 1998.
    Parts of the RDR are trying to do the right thing, but advice and product sales should be seperated.
    Like many I suspect there will be an RDR2, it is just a matter of when as the originally (stated) aims of RDR aren’t being achieved and the actual implementation is not going to work for the general public as the banks DO need to be involved in simplified sales/guidance, whilst advice needs to be seperate.

  11. And the FSA’s comment on this continuing malaise and its apparent inability to do anything to cure it is……?

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