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Five years on – have banks learnt their lesson?

Banker in front of blackboard

Do you remember life ‘PFC’ – that’s pre-financial crisis. If we asked a producer to plot a script for how the financial crisis would unravel I don’t think in my wildest dreams it would lead us to where we are today.

Yes, today it’s five years to the day economists widely regard as the start of the financial crisis. It’s not exactly cause for celebration but perhaps an opportunity to start afresh?

It’s been a rocky journey. Take a handful of collapsed international banks; mix with bail-outs costing the British taxpayer hundreds of billions of pounds and a sprinkling of rate rigging and you’ll find a rather sour tasting banking dish.

Libor interest rate rigging

Do you believe we’re over the worst of it – have the banks themselves changed enough? Our research suggests not, as 71% of people said they didn’t think that UK banks had learnt from the crisis.

Who can blame us for our lack of confidence? We’ve faced a series of scandals that seem to have uncovered a broken culture and deep mismanagement in our banking sector. We’ve seen widespread mis-selling of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI), which is on course to be the biggest financial scandal of all time, and more recently, revelations of Libor interest rate rigging and IT failure at NatWest to name just a few.

There’s a parliamentary inquiry on banking standards underway but few people appear hopeful that things are going to get better. In our survey only 26% said they were confident the inquiry will lead to positive changes to our banks.

We need to ensure banks are efficiently regulated but we also need to address the fundamentally flawed banking culture.

Service not sales

Which? is calling for the inquiry to tackle the culture in UK banking and increase competition in the market. Recently we’ve seen some challengers coming into the market to try and disrupt the dominance of the big banks, Tesco being the latest example launching it’s new mortgage offering this week, but is this enough?

Will we see a significant enough change in culture that means we will see staff prioritising customer service, not sales? What do you think needs to happen to make sure that our interests, as consumers, are at the centre of banking reform?

Comments

Bankers have been allowed to get away with their unscrupulous bordering on criminal conduct for far too long! The british regulators do not regulate & appear to be part of the problem.Now that the US government & federal regulators are moving in on british as well asUS banks they are starting to feel the chill because unlike in the UK they consider white collar crime real crime & US prisons are not like Ford O/p.

Of course they have! How to screw even more profits and salaries out of us! Until (a) things that most people would regard as illegal are made illegal and (b) the first senior person is jailed for breaking those laws or incentivising more junior staff to do so they’ll carry on. It would also help if the non executive directors of banks (and other companies) were made truly responsible for the overall standards of the company rather than just the sinecure they hold at present, with suitable punishments for transgression other than just a smacked wrist!! Thoughts of custody and banning from further well paid directorships should concentrate their minds.

FINSBURYPARKER says:
25 August 2012

Five years on – have banks learnt their lesson?

The short answer is ‘NO’!

Has Joe Public stopped borrowing et-al getting in over their heads?…….’NO’!

Has the Government learned how to stop borrowing money?…….’NO’!

Colin says:
7 September 2012

Never mind have the banks learned their lesson – have the general public learned their lesson.

Need and wants!

We have to get back to the realization that it is going to be needs that will drive any recovery. The problem seems to be that the powers find it difficult to sort out what needs mean for the UK. Manufacturing has to be reignited since the service sector will find it difficult to make real money for the Country. Apprenticeships are needed, not just to learn a skill but to understand team working as part of the training.

We can not rely on the banks to solve our problems they are still a closed shop with shareholders calling the tune.

FINSBURYPARKER says:
11 September 2012

Your post says it all, no need for me to add anything.

Regards,

C James says:
9 September 2012

Recently I was asked to join a web based service by my bank.

I replied to the contact as follows. By the way it got it off my chest but, the banks couldn’t give a toss. Regulation will never happen. They will go on doing just what they want.

1) Because of the outright profiteering of Traders and Merchant Banks, selling corrupt financial instruments as triple AAA products. The taxpayer has had to underwrite both its incompetence and crookery, subjecting the UK to a financial crisis worse than any other since World War One.
2) This in turn has had a significant impact on my largest single investment a pension which has been utterly decimated.
3) The Banking Industry has further proven itself to be nothing short of outrageously inept, with a series of scandals and blunders that beggar belief. For example Traders covering billions of mis-selling, LIBOR, compliance failings in the money transfers from the criminal gangs in Columbia and Mexico.
4) My bank and others here in UK have been publicly named and shamed for much of the above.
5) The only reason I chose you as a bank was at that time you were the least worse of a bad bunch and no other.

Now you may be asking yourself, why is he subjecting me to such vitriol. Well you want me to answer a biased and loaded survey just so your god forsaken Bank can present itself in an aura of cuddly and self-righteous management gobbledegook.

[This comment has been edited for breaking our commenting guidelines. Thanks, mods.]

FINSBURYPARKER says:
11 September 2012

“The banks couldn’t give a toss. Regulation will never happen. They will go on doing just what they want”!
___________________________

Agreed, nowt will change!

Regards,

I am not certain whether several old endowment policied I purchased (not from banks), whose details I no longer have because their term expired, had a portion of PPI in them.

British Gas assured me there was no PPI in a short-term loan for a boiler and other fittings totalling about £5,000. I still do not know why it was ever necessary for me to loan anything – I had the cash to pay the bill. It seems terribly awkward and unnecessary my not paying the cash outright after all the work had been done. There has to be some advantage to the company in doing this in this awkward fashion I would think.

The banks need to be regulated and this was obvious in the1930s which is why they were regulated by FDR in the USA. Deregulation there and in the UK has proved (if proof is needed) that they cannot be trusted to oversee themselves.