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Which? research: Bank staff still under heavy sales pressure

Peter Vicary Smith BBA Conference 2012 480
Peter Vicary Smith

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.”



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  • Fat Mortgage Bloke 8th December 2012 at 6:08 am

    Yes…you join the Bank…you hit your target they double it, then if you do not hit the new target in 3 months you are out the door.
    You have got a mortgage and a young family what do you do????

  • Chris Gardner 7th December 2012 at 4:28 pm

    WHICH? survey funded from selling stuff to consumers etc etc. I am struggling to take what they say as anything but hyperbole and promotion for the revenue generating part of their organisation.

  • Anonymous 7th December 2012 at 4:19 pm

    So no-one else has sales targets??? My dentist tried to cross sell me teeth whitening last week.
    This constant villification of bankers is disgraceful. If a cultural shift is needed and sales are no longer allowed, but only customer choice, then lets sack all sales staff and put everything online.

  • Pat Bunton 7th December 2012 at 11:32 am

    It amazes me that lenders support a firm who constantly knock them in the Press?

    How about asking Which to publish full details of the sales targets their own mortgage advisers have?

  • Phil der Hoden 7th December 2012 at 10:26 am

    “No Poop Sherlock” – could have saved Which? a lot of time and money….

  • AA 7th December 2012 at 10:22 am

    ‘rack em and stack em’ on every pin board!

  • Grey haired adviser 7th December 2012 at 10:20 am

    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 etc he would sell. Why are we not surprised?

  • Dazed & Confused 7th December 2012 at 10:13 am

    Why does this not surprise me one little bit???

    Got to keep the CMC’s in business somehow!

  • AJK 7th December 2012 at 9:55 am

    Are we or should we be shcoked by this I think not- Just go to any high street branch and earwig any conversation over th counter sales staff will sell their souls for a sale-They are under pressure – targets targets targets!