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Bank staff still pressured to sell

A Which? investigation suggests the pressure on bank staff to sell financial products has not reduced, despite demands for change from regulators and politicians.

In Which?’s Big Change survey of over 500 front line bank staff, conducted in September, 81 per cent say the pressure to meet sales targets has stayed the same or risen while 66 per cent say they are sometimes, or always, told to sell more. Some 41 per cent say they thought there had been a decrease in the incentives available.

Nearly half, 46 per cent, say they know colleagues had missold products in order to meet sales targets while 40 per cent say they were expected to sell products even when it was not appropriate for the customer.

Staff were interviewed from HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays and Santander.

Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith says: “We are calling on the banks to be much more transparent about their sales targets and incentives.

“Our survey reveals the stark realities of the sales culture that still exists at the heart of the banking industry. Senior bankers say the culture is changing but this shows it just is not filtering through to staff on the front line who remain under real pressure to put sales before service, even after incentives are taken away.”

An anonymous comment left on Mortgage Strategy Online last week argued that the results were hardly surprising given the continued pressure placed on staff to sell.

The broker said: “My son went for a interview with one of the above banks last week. They were not interested in training on customer service. Their idea of customer service was how much insurance and upgraded bank accounts he would sell.”

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