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The state of banking culture – what do you think?

The banking industry needs to make a Big Change if it’s going to regain your trust. To highlight the depth of the problem, I’ve rounded up some of your comments and suggestions on Britain’s broken banking.

Following the scandals that have plagued the banking industry, we launched our Big Change campaign to demand a fundamental change to banking culture. As part of our campaign, we asked you to share your experiences of banking and your ideas on how to fix it.

Your banking experiences

Mike Butcher used to work for one of the big high-street banks:

‘I worked for Lloyds from 1961 and left in 1978 after five years in management because we were told to sell financial products and make profits based on customers’ trust, not what was best for them.’

Thelorax is tired of the sales patter:

‘I started banking locally with the TSB which was a non-profit mutual bank, but it was bought out by Lloyds and has since been a poorer service – always pushing extras.’

However, Sara was a happy customer:

‘I might be a lone voice but I’m really happy with my bank. I have been with HSBC for almost 20 years – they haven’t always got it right, and I have occasionally been frustrated with telephone banking, but most of the time they get it right.’

How can we fix banking?

Many of you had some brilliant and insightful suggestions on how to fix banking culture. Par ailleurs wants an end to bonus culture:

‘Now if I could see bonuses abolished entirely that would be a start. Nobody ever suggested that my teacher’s salary should also come with an annual bonus. I did my job, was paid adequately and was happy with that.’

CityWatcher thinks a different business model could work:

‘Banks should be owned by the people working in them, whether as co-operatives, partnerships etc. That way, if the bank loses money, the staff do too. That keeps the staff motivated to provide a stable, low-risk banking system.’

Kristoffer Lawson believes we need to move forward:

‘Regulation is a very immediate, top-down solution, but given time pure innovation can also cause dinosaurs to stumble.’

Philip Gregory thinks conduct is vital:

‘As a member of a professional institution I am expected to follow a code of conduct which includes integrity, trust and treating others with respect. I would like to see bankers accepting similar codes of conduct and working to them and if that is to difficult then they should not be given responsibility for looking after people money or investments.’

So there you have it – that’s what some of you think about the state of banking. Do you have any more comments to add? Pat McFadden on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards heard your comments and suggestions at our consumer panel on 24 September, and will use them to help shape the recommendations the panel ultimately makes.

mike says:
5 October 2012

HSBC do NOT follow the code of Banking, their telephone system is just as bad as BTs if you try and get thru to a department average time 45 mins then told to ring back and try later, BT out of the two are the worst to navigate for simple items.

Maxie says:
12 October 2012

Like most banks HSBC love you when you are in the money but lose your job and owe them money they are vicious. Try to reclaim PPI back from them and it’s your fault you took the insurance even if you did not know you had it,talk about kicking someone when they are down they are masters of the art.

mike says:
5 October 2012

Time to push this con government on threasholds for Charging Orders to £35,000 or £25.000

Andy Norrie says:
5 October 2012

Banks are lazy because they can afford to be, there are goods profits to be made and little competition. Other than devising complex (and apparently foolish) complex financial products to sell each other, there has been little innovation in the industry for decades.

We need an entirely re-thought structure for banking in the UK, allowing multiple new banks to start up and a vastly easier system to transfer to another provider.

How about transferable account numbers that can be hosted at any bank (like we can now do with mobile phone numbers).

We could also have intermediary companies that provide the website, call centre and advice. You would then choose the current account and savings(s) products from any ‘bank’ and slot together the service you want. Accounts would become a simple commodity that you could change at any time. The vastly increased competition would force banks to simplify fees and work far harder to keep their customers!

Friendly Society? Like a bank apparently – unfriendly. They offered me this – save £25 a month for 10 years (so I pay in £3000) and if the stock market growth is 4% (not unrealistic) I’ll get back £3090 – a gain before inflation of £90 (tax free), but not guaranteed of course. Their charges will amount to £526 (guaranteed of course).
If I just saved £25 a month in an ordinary savings account paying 2.8% I would get back £3450, or £3360 if I paid tax at 20%.
Their brochure doesn’t quite spell out explicitly that they take 17.5% of my money.
You have to have your wits about you, don’t you.

Banks and building societies are now pushing levels of customer abuse into new teritory.For example last year Barclays refused to re-pay my fixed deposit on maturity by bank transfer saying that in condition xxx in their terms and conditions, deposit refunds can only be made by cheque.(Yes, a clearing bank insisting they use a cheque).
Yesterday I was floored by The Co-operative Bank who said that they can only pay by bank transfer and as I have asked for a cheque I will have to wait up to four weeks for my money.Incidentally, in the Co-ops maturity options form there are two main options both refer to keeping funds with the Co-op.They do not provide an option which allows you to recover your funds by the most expedient and cost effective route.It seems to me that the Co-op is no better than the rest of the pack,willing to rip off the depositor any way they can. Ethics disappear fast when the whiff of cash is in the air.

“STATUTE BARRED DEBT COLLECTION” has now been published. You can view your e-petition at: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/41065

stach says:
29 November 2012

Small is beautiful, large is a disaster. One of several reasons for the break-up of the Soviet Union was centralization. Most economies rely heavily on the performance of SMEs.
For years banking was based on branches, with each branch manager responsible for the profitability and efficient operation of his branch. Clients knew who to deal with, and Branch Managers knew their clients, avoiding irresponsible lending. The system worked well.
The majority of bank employees these days are not bankers at all, they are traders, or barrow boys as some people call them. Branch managers are no more than office managers, and much business is conducted in Centres, be they business or consumer Centres, glorified call Centres with employees working strictly to procedures. This state of affairs is impersonal and results in many mistakes where the right hand does not know what the left is doing.
The purpose of banks is to offer a good service to the community, making money is secondary.
There is no reason why FTCs (Financial Trading Centres) should not exist, but they should be separate from Banks

Andrew Rolfe says:
8 February 2013

Can a clear explanation please be published in Which, of how the Big Banks Casino activities can make them such huge profits for much of the time? Who is paying for these profits, surely for every profit somebody else must make an equal loss, unless the BoE printing money is footing the bill? (I realise that the Taxpayer picked up the loss after the great crash of 2008 etc, but now most of the big Banks are at it again, and so are once more paying the gamblers they employ million pound bonuses?)
Would not every ordinary bank customer like to know this?