“There are instances where a customer doesn’t speak very good English and I am told to just open them an extra account and they won’t know”.
Is that the ‘new’ sales culture in Lloyds Banking Group in 2019?
Since we published our Newsletter ‘The Sales Pendulum in LBG’ we have been inundated with feedback from members telling us about how the sales pendulum has swung back to the bad old days in their areas. There are no targets or incentives but the pressure to push products is the same nonetheless. We are currently working our way through the feedback we have received but there is one email we are publishing now because of what it says about what’s going on in some branches in 2019.
I work as a Banking Consultant for Lloyds Bank in the XXXXXX group.
As a Banking Consultant it is my role to interview customers and open products accordingly. I was recently informed XXXXX is one of the highest product selling groups and I believe this is because we are going back to a culture of mis selling products to our customers.
Each day we have to write a list of what our customers want to do and then a list of all the products they could do. We then have to mark off what we have and haven’t done along with an explanation as to why a product wasn’t taken.
Now the management is taking it one step further, when a customer declines a product they now come into the meetings and keep asking the customer why they have said no until they change their mind and say yes. I have had multiple customers tell me they feel uncomfortable and pressured into opening products they do not want.
There are instances where a customer doesn’t speak very good English and I am told to just open them an extra account and they won’t know.
I have spoken to a number of Banking Consultants and they have all expressed the same concerns.
If a customer declines a product it is turned around into the Consultant’s fault and put on coaching plans
Some managers are much worse than others.
But customers are telling me they feel uncomfortable and pressured. I am also being told to turn away helping hands appointments, downgrades and queries if there are no product opportunities.
They also copy our planners so they have a record of what we have and haven’t done”.
We’ve taken out all references that would allow the Bank to identify the individual member of staff or where they work. Any attempt by the bank to identify the individual will be the subject of legal action by the union. Suffice it to say this Banking Consultant speaks for many and the issues he/she identifies have been raised by other members in emails and messages to the union. Let’s be clear, the vast majority of senior managers are dealing with staff properly when it comes to sales but there are some who continue to push the boundaries beyond what is acceptable. There is a world of difference between identifying a need, which customers understand, and then pressurising customers to take out a product that meets that need. It seems that some line managers don’t understand that difference.
The Next Steps
The union will be sending out a survey to members in the branch network on sales management practices in the next week. The results of that survey will be shared with the bank and members, and a copy will be sent to the FCA director responsible for dealing with Lloyds Banking Group. Members with any suggestions on what should be included in the survey, or on sales practices generally, can contact the Advice Team on 01234 262868 (Choose Option 1) or email us at email@example.com.
What’s Happening In Invoice Finance?
Following another restructuring Client Managers working in Lloyds Bank Invoice Finance, who run invoice finance facilities for client with turnovers of between £1m to £15m, have been told not to visit customers anymore and offer them a phone-only relationship. Managers have been told not to tell customers about the changes because the Bank is concerned about losing them to rival banks. One Client Manager said: “How do they expect us to deal with client requests to visit without revealing we don’t have the capacity to travel any longer?” Typically, Client Managers would have about 80 customers. Invoice finance is a high-risk way of lending and the facilities need constant monitoring, which requires visiting clients, building up relationships and carrying out on-site risk checks.
Last year the bank reduced the number of Client Managers and has simply increased client portfolios by up to 60% for those remaining. Client Managers are now expected to work 60+ hours per week, having had their workloads increased significantly. Staff are concerned that they are being set up for failure by a bank more interested in reducing costs than providing a proper service to customers. Equally, no member of staff should be expected to lie to customers under any circumstances. The Bank should tell customers what’s happening and let them decide if that’s the kind of service they want.
If members are criticised in any way, they must contact the union immediately. Burying your head in the sand and hoping issues go away is only going to make the situation worse. Equally, we would also like to hear from members in Invoice Finance about their hours of work and working conditions. Members can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.