Are Lloyds still misselling?

Are Lloyds still misselling?
10 May 2016

The misselling scandal, that has seen everyone acquainted with PPI claims far too frequently, it looks like some banks haven't learned their lesson.

This is according to one trade union, who has got in touch with the Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA) incoming chief, Andrew Bailey.

The folks at TiM have been contacted by staff at Lloyds branches, saying that they're under pressure to push products on customers, which customers don't actually need.

The site have seen an internal document which is called 'minimum competency standards', which seem to show how members of staff at the bank are expected to sell one of each of Lloyd's products in branch, every month.

Of course, bank staff being pressured into selling products is nothing new, but given the trouble this has caused in recent years, it is surprising to hear that Lloyds might be indulging in this behaviour.

The 'whistleblower' said: "This is obviously unacceptable pressure, which can force advisers to push products that are not in a customer's best interests."

"The bank is saying that having minimum competencies shows that we can evidence to the Financial Conduct Authority that our advisers are compliantly meeting customers needs."

"However, the reality is, they are being used as a stick to bash advisers over the head with, and are forcing advisers to openly target specific products purely for "compliance" purposes, and not customer need, which, quite simply is not acceptable."

The Lloyds Trade Union aren't impressed either, saying that this is an area which is troubling them and something that is a common concern to their members.

The LTU say: "Minimum competency standards are targets by the back door. By forcing staff to push particular products in order to avoid the performance improvement process, the bank is putting customers at risk of getting products they don't need."

"Staff don't want to do it but what choice do they have? We are not aware of any other bank that uses minimum competency standards."

With that, the LTU have written to the incoming FCA boss, saying: "Our primary issue with the bank's minimum competency standards is that by forcing staff to push particular products, with the performance improvement process sword hanging over them in case they don't, customers could be at risk of being sold products they don't need or can't afford."

"So in simple terms, the current use of minimum competency standards by Lloyds Banking Group breaches principle 3 of the FCA's principles for business which states that: 'a firm must take all reasonable care to organise and control its affairs responsibly and effectively, with adequate risk management systems."

A spokesperson at Lloyds bank says: "The Group does not have sales targets at a branch or colleague level, nor is a colleagues pay or bonus linked to product sales."

"As a customer-focused business we expect our colleagues to spend time with customers and show knowledge and expertise when helping them."

"It is therefore important that we have a way of ensuring that colleagues are competent and properly equipped to meet the needs of our customers."

"Competency standards are designed to ensure that a colleague maintains product knowledge by evidencing a customer need has been met on a rolling three-month basis. This is not a sales target and can be met by passing a product knowledge test as an alternative."

TOPICS:   Banking

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