Customers demand banker code of conductBanking ethics questioned after string of scandals

19 April 2013

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Research from Which? has found that consumers want an independent code of conduct for bankers, to help restore trust in banks.

Our recent survey found that only 6% of people think bankers act in their best interests now, compared to 9% in August 2012, immediately after the Libor scandal. A mere 4% said they expected bankers to act ethically. 

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, said: 'It's damning that fewer consumers think bankers act ethically now than they did immediately after last summer's Libor rate rigging scandal, when we thought the reputation of banking had hit rock bottom.'

He added: 'We have continued to see senior bankers criticised for catastrophic failures, and not doing enough to turn around poor standards of basic customer service'. 


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Calling for a compulsory code of conduct

Which? is calling on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards (PCBS) and the government to establish an independent code of conduct for all bank staff. It should be backed by law to give it real teeth, should be independent of the financial services industry, and should contain genuine sanctions such as being barred from working in the industry.

Currently, six in 10 people believe it's unlikely that a banker would lose their job if they lied or cheated, while only one in 10 say they trust the banking industry. However, nine in 10 people said that if bankers were struck off for wrongdoing, this would help to restore their trust. Richard Lloyd said:

'An overwhelming majority of people support our call for a fully independent code of conduct for bankers, backed by statute, with tough sanctions for bad practice.

We now need the Government, regulators and industry to redouble their efforts to rebuild trust and bring about a big change in banking.

We need a Big Change in banking

The Which? campaign for Big Change in banking has received more than 130,000 pledges of support in conjunction with 38 Degrees. The campaign is calling for:

  1. Bankers to put customers first, not sales.
  2. Bankers to meet professional standards and comply with a code of conduct.
  3. Bankers to be punished for mis-selling and bad practice.

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