Banks fail to learn lessons - new Which? surveyOnly 26% expect positive change from bank inquiry

09 August 2012

bank building sign

Five years on from the day the global financial crisis officially started, the British public are more disillusioned with the banking sector than ever before.

As the parliamentary inquiry on Banking Standards prepares to get underway, a new Which? survey of 2,000 adults has found almost three-quarters (71%) say UK banks haven't learnt their lesson from the financial crisis - up from 61% in September 2011.

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Pessimistic public view of banking inquiry

Consumers also have low expectations that the inquiry will lead to change, with only a quarter of people (26%) confident that it will lead to positive improvements in UK banks.

Since the start of the financial crisis consumers have been bearing the brunt of the recession with the Which? latest wellbeing survey showing that nearly half are worried about mortgage rates (45%) and the level of their household debt (42%).

At the same time, consumers have been hit by a series of bank scandals, which have further exposed the broken culture and mismanagement in UK banking. These include the mis-selling of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI), which is now on course to be the biggest financial scandal of all time, IT system failures at Natwest and Nationwide, and Libor interest-rate rigging at Barclays.

Which? is calling for the inquiry to produce tough new proposals to force banks to work better for consumers by tackling the lack of competition and culture in banking.

Key banking survey findings

  • 84% of people think that the banks have not done enough to prevent another credit crunch - an increase from 76% in September 2011.
  • 71% think the banking culture hasn’t got any better since the start of the credit crunch.
  • 50% think that the Government's handling of the banking industry has also got worse.
  • 80% think there is a deeper problem with the culture in banks than just a few individuals making bad decisions.

Consumers must be at the heart of banking reform says Which?

Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith says: 'Five years on from the beginning of the financial crisis, public confidence in the banking industry is at an all time low, with a series of scandals exposing mis-management and corruption at the very heart of the banking system that have cost UK consumers dear.

'The parliamentary banking inquiry must produce proposals for fundamental change to the culture and practices of the banks and put the best interests of consumers back at the centre of reforms. Nothing should be off the table if the government is to rebuild consumer confidence in this essential service.'

Which? wants the inquiry to focus on the needs of consumers, and to make recommendations for handing power back to bank customers and transforming the culture and level of competition in the banking sector to achieve this.

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