Consumers have their say on bankingBanking Commission hears how consumers have lost trust
25 September 2012
At an event hosted by Which? on Monday 24 September, consumers told members of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards how they had lost confidence in the banking industry.
Members of the public spoke face-to-face with a panel of members from the Commission, which is tasked with looking at issues surrounding the consumer and business experience of banks.
Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said: 'It is important that the Commission hear directly from the public about how they have lost trust and confidence in the banking sector and have just had enough of being short changed by banks.'
Lost trust and confidence in banks
Consumers were asked how they felt they are treated by their banks and the changes they would like to see in banking in this country. Consumers fed back a range of changes they'd like to see, which included:
- No to charging for a current account: Many were unhappy about unfair bank charges, and some were shocked that they are already paying for their accounts through lost interest or high overdraft charges. They felt that they shouldn’t have to pay for the most basic, essential banking services and a monthly charge would not stop high charges or mis-selling.
- Stop selling us products we don't need: This was a major issue for a lot of the consumers present, with many saying they are hassled to buy products when they go into their local branch when all they want is basic information about their account.
- Show us some loyalty: They were keen to see their loyalty - in many cases for decades of banking with the same company - rewarded in some way, and some were disappointed that their banks had failed to show any understanding when they were in financial difficulty, despite their loyalty.
- End faceless banking: Many were fed up with the lack of a personal service and bank staff who know nothing about their personal circumstances. They felt that bank staff are only interested in selling them products, and reading from a script, rather than properly speaking to them about their banking needs.
- Bankers must be held accountable: Most questioned why no bankers had been prosecuted for corrupt practices uncovered during the financial collapse.
- Tougher rules are needed: Many consumers were not aware of existing regulation, and wanted to see tougher rules and a visible code of conduct for the industry. They did not think it was right that people had to complain about mis-selling, or fight to get compensation, and the banks should automatically have to resolve all complaints.
Attendees also voiced their positive experiences of banking with examples of helpful staff, useful fraud alerts and recognition of the pressure that branch staff can be under to sell rather than serve customers.
It’s time for Big Change
Which? has launched a major new campaign 'Big Change' to make banks work for customers, not bankers. The Big Change campaign is calling for bankers to put customers first, not sales, meet professional standards, comply with a code of conduct and be punished for mis-selling and bad practice.
Richard Lloyd said: 'Consumers' best interests must be at the heart of reforms to the financial sector to prevent the public suffering from further mis-selling and scandals.'