/ Money

Fed up with banks trying to push their products?

Pound sign carried by banker

Ever gone into a bank branch (if you can find one that’s open and not chock-a-block full of people queuing) with a simple request, and been asked whether you’d like to take out a savings account or an investment?

If you’re like me, this happens all the time. And no, I don’t want one of their lousy loans.

If you have a rubbish savings account and your bank lets you know that there’s a better option out there, you should probably be chuffed. The problem is, this is rarely the conversation you’ll have.

Instead, you’ll visit your bank branch to put in a cheque and you’ll be faced with being sold mostly irrelevant products and services.

‘Interested in our new savings account?’ No!

I tend to get a little irritated by the additional time spent in a bank, invariably on my lunch break, when I could be elsewhere.

The thing is, Which? understands that plenty of bank staff are also unhappy with this approach. They dread asking the same old people the same old questions – such as whether customers want a credit card, when they clearly don’t.

Yet, staff are under pressure to ask these questions. If they don’t, they risk a black mark against their name, which could make the difference between getting a bonus or a warning.

We need better customer service

Following the banking crisis, you’d think banks would concentrate on customer service, rather than trying to get more cash out of us. They’re complacent and it’s showing. Bank queues are stretched at least partly due to all the questions about products we don’t want. Plus, we risk opening up needless accounts just to get tellers to shut up.

What the banks should do is give us the service we expect when we visit them, and provide access to other staff who can answer specific queries regarding new products as and when we ask about them.

Wasting our time to turn us into another revenue stream is offensive and must stop. But then again, what do I know? I’m only a customer, albeit an increasingly disloyal one.


We have been with nationwide building society for many years and they have never tried to sell us other products.
Only problem is they are closing quite a few branches and agencies – why when they are still making “profits”?,

Rose says:
23 June 2011

You’re certainly very lucky! A friend of mine has worked for Nationwide for many years and hates work now due to the fact that she is targeted daily with having to offer certain “flavour of the day/week/month” products to people who don’t need them. A senior member of staff keeps watch over her and, if she uses her natural skills/empathy etc to offer something to customers that they actually need (but not what Nationwide are pushing her to sell) she is told off as if she is a naughty child, and sometimes given a verbal warning! That is despite always having excelled in product sales in past years due to her experience, having built up good relationships with customers and going out of her way to give excellent customer service. She is just biding her time till retirement but absolutely hates her job now and is only doing it in order to get her pension and because she knows no-one else would employ her at her age.

All the bank queues I have been in recently were due to people asking the cashier a whole series of questions about all their accounts or wanting several things doing.
( Dont get me wrong, these are people who dont do telephone or online banking so they are fully entitled to take up cashiers time !)
The 20 secs spent by the cashier trying to sell me something is neither here nor there.

I work for a high street Branch in the town center and it is true we all have targets, even the cashiers. Our targets are high and we are expected, as bank staff to achieve at least 4 sales a day and refer at least 2 customers to our regulated consultants. We must do this as well as maintain service levels and deal with customer inquiries and complaints. The activities mentioned, are only a fraction of what we have to do when the bank is closed or in times between seeing customers. We have to complete quarterly Risk training and pass all tests, all this while they(being the ones in upper management we dont see but hear all about all over the news) relentlessly try to push their profit focused, short sighted incentives to motivate us to transmit their version of the truth to the world. This, in place of our own views and ideologies replacing how we really feel about the things that effect us and our customers . Its very frustrating for all of us, we are all people, and mostly all the staff didn’t join the bank to sell products they came to provide a service and now feel somewhat duped, negative and unenthusiastic about their jobs but are also are worried about job security and the rising cost of living. like everyone else.

Bechet says:
22 June 2011

In my local branch (Barclays) nobody ever tries to sell me anything (perhaps I look too poor) ~ the queues and delays usually seem to be caused by people who haven’t prepared properly before they face the cashier. But when I use telephone banking the advisors rarely fail to offer me insurance or one of the bank’s uncompetitive savings accounts. On the other hand both counter and telephone staff have always been helpful and efficient in answering my questions and processing my transactions.

Like Red Kite I also use Nationwide where service has deteriorated as it has grown and swallowed smaller building societies. However, branch staff have never tried to sell me financial products unless I have enquired about savings accounts ~ when they have been keen to flog equity linked accounts.

Roger Jenkins says:
22 June 2011

I internet bank with LloydsTSB and hate the fact that my account page is littered with adverts, it really puts me off and it really annoys me that I have no control over what is on MY account page, I have been with LloydsTSB for over 22 years but this is really getting to me and I am considering switching accounts, though I imagine other banks will be the same. They do not seem content unless they are bombarding customers with adverts and requests to buy their products, irrespective of whether they need the product or not.

Gill Freeman says:
22 June 2011

Switch to Smile, the Co-op’s internet bank. The interest isn’t great, but the account is secure and the ethos is excellent. You get no adverts on your statement, it’s easy to switch, and if you should need help, the helpline is excellent and doesn’t keep you waiting for ages. Also, you can get money out and pay in cheques in a Post Office. When I was asked if I would like to move up to an account with the usual free travel insurance, etc., I explained that I would use hardly any of the goodies on offer – too old for their insurance, would never drive abroad, etc. The young lady listened, and agreed that I would barely recoup the extra cost of the account, and the matter was closed and has never been mentioned again. I also get an annual check with an advisor, if I wish, but as he’s very nice and never pushes me to buy products, I’m very happy to discuss my finances with him and very happy to have switched.

Chris Nation says:
6 July 2011

Well, Ms Freeman, this is most bizarre. I have my Lloyds i/n banking pages up on the screen as I write this and there is not one single ad!

One the opening page there is a link about setting up and managing standing orders online, illustrated by a bloke sunbathing on a very uncomfortable looking slatted wooden bed and a panel thanking us all for feedback that has resulted in statements being printed on less paper [myself, I’ve dispensed with paper statements altogether]

That’s it!

On my current account page there is nothing but a column of figures showing where all my money has gone and a panel on the right labelled ‘Account Tools’

Not one ad anywhere.

By the way, I think it’s fair to recognise that a bank has as much need to advertise and promote its ‘products’ as any business selling shoes, wigdets, daft stuff to make your skin last 1000 years and your hair look as if it has been dipped in finest marine varnish.

And I fail to see how, when asked in person by a bank employee, a polite , “No thanks. I already have that cover/do not need that service.” takes up any time or can possible be of any annoyance. If they persist, simply say, ” I have given you my answer. Please can we now deal with my business?”

whichfan says:
23 June 2011

four years ago I was with Lloyds. During the height of the credit crunch I went in to pay a cheque
and a junior person for whom I felt very sorry tried to give me a hard sell (and was being supervised). I was so angry that I went home and set in train changing my bank. It took some time, was a little complicated but worked. I moved to Coop. They were v efficient in changeover and have been v efficient since. Not many branches in SE but one I can get to if I need to, otherwise ATM and usual chip and pin when buying when not cash. Lovely bank.

If I visit a bank or building society, it’s usually with a specific enquiry – I just say that if they try to sell me another product, I’ll walk out or I tell them this is all I am there for. The cashier usually looks a bit uncomfortable and then relieved. Take control before they do!!

LJ says:
23 June 2011

Lloyds phone me every so often offering a “Savings review” – if I don’t return their calls, they send me a letter saying they’ve been trying to contact me unsuccessfully and I need to come into a branch, which makes it sound like something is wrong with my account, when all it is is a sales pitch. Recently I had some extra cash in my account for a few days and that prompted them to call me to see if I needed help to invest it!

Jane says:
17 October 2011

I went into Lloyds bank on Saturday to pay a cheque into my account. I’d had a very busy week at work and had a splitting headache. The assistant started asking me questons about my ISA allocation for the year. I’m afraid I was a bit rude and asked her what it had to do with me paying a cheque in. I’m not in the slightest bit interested and find it offensive to be questioned about my financial situation unless there is a major problem with funds. They should be providing a service with us calling the shots.

Silwin says:
26 April 2013

I went into Halifax the other day to deposit some money into my account and thier paying in machine was broken. Stood in a queue for about 15 minutes with a queue of just 7 people. when it was my turn the woman snoops into my bank accounts and recommends me things and wants to book me in for a sit in with a financial adviser.

Isn’t there any law against people snooping into bank accounts? I only gave her my bank card and she went into the rest of my bank accounts with it.