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Banks receive 21 million complaints in six years


Banks have paid out a total of £38.5 billion in fines and compensation over the last 15 years, a joint study by Cass Business School and think tank New City Agenda concludes.

Poor standards and mis-selling has lead to public mistrust of British banks, and the report showed that in the six years between 2008 and 2014, banks received a total of 21 million complaints.

The fines and complaints have been blamed on a “toxic” and “aggressive” culture inside British banks, that may take a generation to change, the report believes. The report believes that over two decades, an aggressive sales culture took hold in retail banking. Staff in some branches received cash bonuses, iPods, or tickets to Wimbledon for hitting sales targets. Those that failed to hit targets “were humiliated by having cabbages and other vegetables placed on their desks," it added.

The banking industry has now advised that they are “striving hard” to rebuild trust with consumers, and many banks have culture change programmes underway.

The report's main author, Professor Andre Spicer, of the Cass Business School, said:

“Regulation has improved, and big banks have all implemented new programmes to improve their cultures.

"Smaller banks and challenger banks are beginning to offer the customer real choice, and often have healthier cultures.

"Many culture-change initiatives are fragile, and their success is not ensured. It's clear to us that much work still needs to be done,"

The British Bankers' Association (BBA) said that banks had made some progress in rebuilding public trust. A BBA spokesperson said:

"There has been some important headway, with a new regulatory system, important reforms to pay and measures to ensure the British taxpayer will not have to shore up struggling banks in the future,"

"It's very important that public confidence in this vital part of our economy returns, but that takes time and there is still more to be done"

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