By Jonathan Davies
Despite the multi-billion pound fallout from the PPI mis-selling scandal, a quarter of front line bank staff still feel pressured to sell products that may not be appropriate for the customer.
A survey by consumer group Which? found that 27% of front line staff still feel pushed to sell because of the culture in the industry. It compares with 43% in 2012, but still represents a significant number of workers in the banking sector.
Twenty-eight percent of workers at the big five banks said they feel under pressure to sell other products, regardless of whether or not the customer needs or wants it. The same proportion also said they were uncomfortable with their bank's sales approach.
"I've spoken to the chief executives of all the major banks, and at the top there has clearly been a recognition that it is bad for business to allow the kind of behaviour that has been so systemic in the past to continue," said Which?'s executive director Richard Lloyd.
"But that does not transform the organisation overnight. It is quite easy for middle managers or those further down the bank to simply rebrand sales targets and keep the pressure on staff up, which could result in mis-selling in other ways."
Despite the apparent continued pressure to sell, nearly 80% of those surveyed did say that there is now a greater focus on providing quality customer service that selling products.
Despite this positive sign, Richard Lloyd is concerned that a change of leadership at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) could signal reduced pressure to banks.
Outgoing chief Martin Wheatley was known for his strict approach to banking reform.
"It is a worrying position at the moment, there is still a long way to go and if the FCA takes the pressure off, we could quite easily see the situation slide back to what we found in 2012," Mr Lloyd said.
"We are realistic about the ability to stamp out mis-selling completely - there will never be a day when a middle manager will not put anyone under pressure to sell - but we need to see more changes to keep the culture improving and more pressure from the regulator to keep up the work they have already been doing."