Five years on from the start of the credit crunch, almost three-quarters of people don’t think that the banks have learnt their lesson and only one in ten believe that bankers act in our best interests.
We thought we’d seen banking at its lowest point when the public were forced to bail out the banks but since then we’ve seen the Libor rate-rigging scandal and continued mis-selling. All the while the bankers who presided over corruption continue to enjoy hugely inflated pay and bonuses.
The ‘Big Change’ campaign
Consumers are continually being short changed – we need to see Big Change in banking now. We’re setting out three simple asks to kick-start this change.
Customer service should come before sales, standards and ethics must improve, and bankers must be held to account. We want banks for customers, not bankers.
If we can achieve these three goals we’ll go some way to restoring the public’s faith in the banks. And so for the detail:
Bankers should put customers first, not sales. We want pay and bonus schemes introduced at all levels within banks to prioritise customer service not sales.
Struck off for malpractice
Bankers must meet professional standards and comply with a code of conduct. We want professional standards to be enforced in the banking industry. Like in the medical profession, staff would have to adhere to a code of conduct and they could be struck off for malpractice. Bankers at the most senior levels should have compulsory qualifications and training in ethical behaviour and resolving conflicts of interest.
Bankers must be punished for mis-selling and bad practice. We want senior executives held accountable for mis-selling and poor conduct, and stronger criminal sanctions – all the way up to board level – if they have presided over corrupt practices. Bonuses should also be clawed back in the event of mis-selling.
Pledge your support for Big Change
The government has set up an inquiry on banking standards that will provide recommendations on how the industry needs to change. You can help by pledging your support for the Big Change campaign and asking your friends to do the same. Let’s tell politicians and the industry that banks should be for customers, not for bankers.
We’ll be holding a consumer event with the inquiry’s members on Monday 24 September. If you have a question that you’d like the panel to answer, post it below. We’ll be posing your concerns to the panel on the night and posting their responses below.