We thought we'd seen banking at its lowest point when the public were forced to bail out the banks four years ago, but since then we've seen the libor rate-rigging scandal and continued mis-selling. All the while the bankers who presided over corruption continue to enjoy hugely inflated pay and bonuses.
So it's no surprise that new Which? research shows that banking is one of the least trusted professions. Our survey found that two-thirds of people (67%) think bankers are unlikely to lose their job if they lie or cheat and only one in 10 people trust bankers to act in their best interests. A mere 6% of people say they associate ethical behaviour with banking.
Consumers are continually being let down by the banks. When it comes to customer satisfaction, a recent Which? poll found all major high-street banks scored below average, despite dominating the UK banking market. Banks that go the extra mile to keep their customers happy are rated far higher than banks who may offer slightly better products or interest rates. This highlights the demand for all banks to put customers first, before bankers.
Today we launch a major new campaign, 'Big Change', calling for fundamental changes to banking culture and practices to put customers first. We think customer service should come before sales, bankers must meet professional standards and comply with a code of conduct enforced by an independent professional standards body, and they should be punished for mis-selling and bad practice.
Banks should have to genuinely compete for customers. We want to see increased competition on the high street and for customers to vote with their feet when they're not being treated fairly by switching banks. This will force banks to put customers first.
In December, the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards will recommend how to fix banking culture. The inquiry presents a unique opportunity to find ways to transform a sector that ordinary people believe has lost its moral compass. We are calling for the Commission, the banks, the regulators and the government to listen to the public and make sure consumers' best interests are at the heart of the reforms that so desperately need to be made.
The banks have been letting people down for too long. Consumer trust and confidence is at an all time low. The government must take action now and push forward with reforms.
We are urging the public to show the inquiry they have had enough of the banks' bad behaviour by joining our campaign. You can support the campaign by signing the 'Big Change' pledge.
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