It will take years to change “aggressive sales culture” of banking, says report

Damaging corporate cultures are so deeply ingrained in the finance industry that it’s unlikely to change until current bankers retire, new research suggests.

A report published by Cass Business School and the think tank New City Agenda found that “an entire generation of staff have been raised, and some instances promoted, in an aggressive sales culture.” Despite the efforts of high street banks to improve their behaviour and regain trust, real cultural change won’t come until the next generation, it said.

Since 2000, retail banks have received 20.8m complaints and have set aside £38.5bn for fines and compensation. £27bn of this was used to repay people that were mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI). The figure does not include fines imposed on the investment banking industry for misdemeanours such as the high profile forex and Libor riggings.

Despite this, staff told researchers that they were will under “significant pressure” to sell products and were doubtful about whether banks would be able to change their behaviour as quickly as hoped.

Most people we spoke to told us that real change will take at least five years. There was some uncertainty as to how these changes were being translated into good practice at the customer coal face. Many culture change initiatives are fragile, and their success is not ensured,” said Professor Andre Spicer, who led the research.

The report explored the corporate culture of 27 financial institutions, of which 11 were banks.




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