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Stressed high street bank staff still mis-selling

High street banks are still using high-pressure sales tactics among their staff despite the mis-selling scandals that have blighted the sector, according to an investigation by consumer group Which?

Stressed high street bank staff still mis-selling

High street banks are still using high-pressure sales tactics among their staff despite the mis-selling scandals that have blighted the sector, according to an investigation by consumer group Which?

Which? conducted a survey of more than 500 staff at HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays and Santander.

It found that two-thirds of bank sales staff with targets felt they were under more pressure than ever to meet them. Almost half said they knew colleagues who had mis-sold products to meet targets and four in 10 said targets drove staff to sell products even when they are not appropriate.

The survey also found that four in 10 with targets were subject to ‘power hours’ where they were expected to make a certain number of sales in a specified period of time. It said the most common reason for staff being told to sell more was to hit targets and increase profits, with the customer need ranking low on the list.

A further survey among consumers found that four in 10 were offered a new product they did not deem suitable when they contacted their bank, while a quarter felt pressurised to take it.

Which? Chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith said the survey showed the need for change across the banking sector. ‘We’re calling on the banks to be much more transparent about their sales targets and incentives,’ he said. ‘We also want to see bankers meet professional standards and comply with a fully independent code of conduct.’

8 comments so far. Why not have your say?

William Phillips

Dec 07, 2012 at 12:51

Bank trying to flog you anything but money transmission services and overdrafts?

Just say no.

And go on saying no until the corrupted thieves and swindlers and liars who have inherited what were once self-supporting pillars of probity get the message.

No exceptions, no benefit of the doubt, no listening to promises that they have mended their ways.

No, no, and no again-- until they get back to being banks and nothing more.

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David Hancock

Dec 07, 2012 at 14:31

Well said William Phillips. As a Midland Bank manager from many years ago, I find the modern service - or lack of it - bitterly disappointing.

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Seen it all before

Dec 07, 2012 at 17:27

David, I'm surprised you don't remember it was the Midland bank that set the industry on this road with the introduction with free in credit current accounts. The rationale was that they could make up the loss of income by cross selling other financial products and as costs rose, so did the pressure to sell resulting in the current debacle.

We now have phone companies giving away phones and gouging customers on the cost of calls, printers are sold for much less than the cost of manufacture but don't mention the cost of the ink. It's a pity we can't get back to honest retailing but the something for nothing culture is well established.

The French tell me that we Brit's know the price of everything and the value of nothing. Perhaps they have a point.

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colin wilson

Dec 07, 2012 at 17:36

The service that I receive from my local bank has always been spot on (Santander).Sure, the staff do sometimes approach me with product offers but never in a high pressure mode and I do sometimes take up the offer.

I would have thought that it is part of a banks function to offer insurance,credit cards,loans, mortgages etc as part of their business.

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Dec 07, 2012 at 17:46

No things haven't changed since the 80's.

As an ex Barclays Manager in those days I remember another manager discussing his Branch's annual results with the directorate. He had exceeded his targets in all but one, which was the only one discussed. No praise given for those exceeded. The writing was on the wall then, and obviously hasn't changed.

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alan d via mobile

Dec 07, 2012 at 23:38

Leopards don't generally change their spots and neither will bankers. The whole sector is greed-driven and only when firm enforceable legislation is brought in, backed up with severe fines and loss of office for the CEOs, will anything even begin to change.

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J Wood

Dec 08, 2012 at 01:21

Yes, this culture is rotten to the core and senior management in the banks are to blame by allowing the culture to continue in spite of all the recent scandals. They continue to put an inordinate amount of pressure on their subordinate sales staff to meet unachievable targets, at a time when the country is facing huge economic difficulties. Instead of the sales staff losing their jobs for not meeting targets, the focus should be directed towards the so-called senior management for their contracts to be terminated for not relaxing targets & not addressing the ugly bonus & incentive driven culture within their banks. These are the people who are responsible for continuing to pressurise their subordinate staff into selling inappropriate & unnecessary products. Until positive action is taken to address the culture within the banks, then scandals will continue to evolve. Peter Vicary-Smith is correct in his assessment.

It should be remembered that whenever the word 'Banks' is used in media content in reference to their demeanours, it really refers to a group of individuals within the Banks who are responsible for the demeanours. Who are these people as these are the people who should be targeted?

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Anonymous 1 needed this 'off the record'

Dec 08, 2012 at 08:56

You see their true colours when proceeds from a house sale or inheritance drops into your account ! Your personal private manager suddenly appears and bombarding by phone, letter and email follows, just ignore ;)

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