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.’