In a recent article on the PPI mis-selling scandal, the Financial Times quoted from an unnamed Lloyds seller who was working in the bank when PPI was being sold. The article says: “When Mathew started working for one of the UK’s biggest banks in the late 1990s, he didn’t think there was anything wrong with selling payment protection insurance. But soon the pressure to sell policies to people who didn’t need, want or understand the cover they were signing up for made him feel ill. “There were often times I would go down the back lane behind the branch and be physically sick because I was so frightened about going into work” says Matthew”.
In our last Newsletter we asked whether it was possible for a PPI mis-selling scandal to happen again and whether the sales culture in Lloyds has really changed?
Similar to the surveys we used for PPI, we asked front line members to tell us about the sales culture in their branches. The key results are as follows:
81% of respondents said that the sales culture in Lloyds had got worse. Those responding included front line advisers and mortgage & protection advisers.
74% said that they felt under pressure to justify their salary. Increasingly the bank is making it clear to frontline staff that their job is about making customers better off and that means selling them financial products. That’s not wrong but it’s when that pressure, be it implicit or explicit, forces the member of staff to push for sales not because it’s the right thing to do but to avoid difficult conversations with their line managers.
76% of staff said that they worry about not doing enough sales. The fact that there are no formal targets, like in the days of PPI, doesn’t stop the anxiety for staff because they know that at some point they are going to be asked to justify the hours they have worked and what they have done to “help” customers.
And it’s the management of every minute of the working day that causes staff to worry about sales. At the height of the PPI sales bonanza staff were constantly having to fill in forms saying who they were meeting and that sales had they done. 84% of respondents in our survey said that they were increasingly being micro-managed. We will cover this in more detail in our next Newsletter.
76% of staff said that “Everything is still just about sales in the bank. Nothing has really changed”.
The full results of the survey, including some of the comments we got from members, will be published in a brochure we are putting together. In the meantime, members with any comments on the survey results they have seen so far should contact the Union’s Advice Team on 01234 262868.