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Bankers say industry culture still ‘broken’

Bad behaviour and bullying still rife in banking

Code of conduct picture

Work still needs to be done to rebuild trust in the banking sector, new research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) has found.

The survey found that almost one in three people outside senior management say they are proud to work in the industry.

Chief executive at the CIPD, Peter Cheese said: ‘I hope the Parliamentary Commission on Banking’s final report later this month will acknowledge the importance of addressing cultural and behavioural shifts as much as regulatory change.’

Sales pressure causes problems

The research found almost two thirds of workers in the sector believe some people in their organisation are rewarded in a way that incentivises inappropriate behaviour.

This reflects Which? research, which found almost half (46%) of bank staff said they knew colleagues who had mis-sold products in order to meet targets.

Our research also found that, despite increased pressure on banks to change their culture, 81% of bank staff felt pressure to meet sales targets has stayed the same or increased. And two thirds of staff in sales roles said they were sometimes or always told to sell more.

Customers should come first

The CIPD  survey of more than 1,000 employees in the financial sector also found that less than half of respondents rank customers as their organisation’s most important stakeholder, while a third consider shareholders to be their number one priority.

Our findings reflect this, as four in 10 customers told us they’d been offered a product or service that wasn’t suitable for them when they last contacted their bank. Of those, a quarter felt they’d been pressurised to take it – a third of whom said they had needed to refuse more than once.

Bankers need a code of conduct

Respondents to the CIPD survey said they felt those who breach values are just as likely to be punished as they are to get away with bad behaviour. In addition, 6% even said these individuals seem to be rewarded or promoted.

Our Big Change campaign is calling for the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards (PCBS) to implement a code of conduct for bankers to tackle inappropriate behaviour.

Our research found 86% of consumers think it’s important that a banking code of conduct is compulsory, while 85% think it should be backed by law.

Which? wants Big Change

The report from the CIPD comes ahead of the publication later this month of the PCBS’ final report. Which? is calling for Big Change in banking culture:

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

So far, more than 130,000 people have pledged support for our Big Change campaign in partnership with 38 Degrees.

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