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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 there has been a decrease in the incentives available.

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

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

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.”

Jacksons Wealth Management managing director Pete Matthew says: “This comes as no surprise whatsoever. I think as long as you are putting people under pressure to meet sales targets it is inevitable people will be sold unsuitable products, the pair go hand-in-hand.”


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There are 2 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Really ? What did you think would happen. I have already heard from inside a certain high street bank that ‘we don’t have targets, but these are your targets’. These guys don’t change their spots because they cannot manage in any other way. they don’t know how. Threats, bullying and pressure will ALWAYS cause problems, not matter what you call them. Time for the banking sector to look outisde at what modern companies do to ‘encourage’ employees.

  2. The banks just reduced the carrot as a reaction to ‘public pressure about bonuses’ and increased the stick. In otherwords, they took full advtange of the situation as expected and its ‘business as usual’.

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