The FSA report out yesterday revealed the role of commission-based sales in driving the aggressive sales culture that has contributed to the recent slew of mis-selling scandals such as PPI and interest rate swaps.
It's clear that if you pay bank workers a pittance, forcing them to top up their salaries with commissions, than customers are going to suffer. Martin Wheatley, FSA managing director, told the BBC that some incentive schemes seemed "guaranteed to give the wrong outcome for the customer".
Lloyds banking group, where up to 40% of staff received bonuses for selling extra products to customers, have been referred to the Enforcement and Financial Crime Division.
J C Willis, a former HBOS worker, said of his experience working on the cut throat sales floor:
'Front line staff complained about the sales culture. They tried to tell senior managers that the targets were too high, their jobs were too stressful and the lack of focus on service was driving good customers away. Everything we said fell on deaf ears.'
While we welcome the action to 'clamp down' on this behaviour from the FSA, we’ve seen banks wriggle around regulation too many times. We need a fundamental shift in the culture of our banks, and an engaged customer base that holds them to account.
It’s time to change banks.