/ Money

Let down by the banks? It’s time for a Big Change

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.

Colin Amos says:
7 November 2012

The main banks are not the only ones who need to put their house in order. Nationwide, hitherto rated highly by Which?, are giving me an absolute run around. They seem totally incapable of grasping my complaints and dealing with them efficiently and effectively. I am rapidly reaching a peak in frustration and pretty soon I shall vote with my feet. A shame after at least 30 years of banking with them.


Hi Colin
You have just confirmed what I wrote in a previous post
The Nationwide is being pushed in this thread as being different to the mainstream,they are not
They used to be, but market forces have made them no different to the rest
I also voted with my feet.

Archie Honeyman says:
8 November 2012

Good on you. Get into them. Show the banks what for.

Adrian McTiernan says:
23 November 2012

Here, here! – Put the boot in – (nicest possible way, of course) – yes, vote with your feet, or perhaps more to the point, with your money. More power to the people, and all that sort of rot –

Tatto says:
8 November 2012

A few years ago Ryanair and a few others introduced “cheap no-frill” prices for flights.
Since then they try to push down the travelling public’s throat all sorts of inferior frills at high prices, making their cheap flights not much cheaper than proper ailrlines’ prices.

We should try to avoid using such airlines who, I believe dishonestly, appear to be cheaper than they really are, as well as making it very inconvenient for the passenger.

Never mind looking for transparency in banana pricing. We need to do the same with these airlines too!


saltydog1 says:
29 November 2012

I agree that Ryan air and lots of other organisations are a shower of crooks motivated only by greed and operated by people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing and I totally support your observations. However I also feel that it is outside of the remit of a banking comment board to include anything else. The banks are a cabal of organised criminals and it is a mystery why several of their managers and executives have not been prosecuted for fraud.

Stephen Lawrence says:
9 November 2012

We will have confidence in the banking system when we understand what banks do. Isn’t it interesting that money is about the only thing we are prepared to buy (into), without the faintest clue as to what it is, where it comes from, and why it is worth anything anyway? The Big Change is a start of a process of ‘banking enlightenment’ which may take many years, even a generation, to bring about that understanding.

Ronald Stamper says:
11 November 2012

Stephen Lawrence, As you say, there are basic facts about money that everyone should know. One of them is the most amazing secret because it is hardly ever broached in the media – that is until recently. On your topic Henry Ford said this

“It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”

One of the few accessible sources is the website of a recent group called PositiveMoney. Google them. I find them excellent. They campaign on the creation of money by the private banks (97%) rather than by the state, on our behalf (3%). This lies at the root of boom and bust.

In the 1930s economists at U. of Chicago proposed ending fractional reserve banking that allowed this to happen. Of course the banks are reluctant to return the power to create the money supply to the state, where it began and where it belongs. The IMF’s Research Dept recently published a report called “The Chicago Plan Revisited”, which finds strongly in favour of that reform.

Everyone should know the facts.

Just imagine ! We allow banks to create 97% of the money in circulation from nothing but keystrokes on a computer keyboard when they lend it. Very roughly £2 trillion are in circulation now, and (what’s the average interest rate on loans today?) fill in a figure; do the arithmetic; then gawp at the size of the corporate welfare we hand to the banking sector.

Brian says:
11 November 2012

Ronald Stamper explains various theories as expounded by economists. As I [an ex and qualified plian vanilla banker] have said several times before in this ongoing debate, the solution is very, extremely and amazingly simple. Allow banks to be run by bankers. Not by economists or accountants or marketeers or by traders; please revert to having qualified bankers on boards of banks both non-executive and executive. Simple solution to a complex problem which is largely complex due to inter-meddling by non-bankers whose sole motivation is to produce bottom line profit [at all costs] and therefore be driven by the whims and fancies of shareholders. In my era as a banker [1964 – 1997] shareholders bought bank shares and hung onto them. They did not trade in bank shares. There was a strange sense of loyalty by shareholders then which is possibly why targets re profits were not in existence. Targets [and therefore bonuses] are the bad feature of banking and somehow there needs to be an end of this type of culture.