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?