By Daniel Hunter

Until banks learn the importance of training their employees to promote financial products effectively, “their reputations will never fully recover,” according to a leading international sales training organisation.

The comments from Doug Tucker, Managing Director of Sales Commando, come in the wake of Sir Andrew Large’s criticism of RBS and its treatment of SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises). His words also follow a speech made by the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, in which he said that he would be happy to see Britain develop an even larger banking and financial services sector over the forthcoming decades.

Tucker says: “Both Sir Andrew Large’s findings and Mark Carney’s speech should be welcomed. It’s all a step in the right direction towards good business practice, heightened customer service levels, and a forward-thinking, pro-growth approach to the UK’s finance sector.

“The dawning of this new era that has been ushered in by the BoE’s Governor is a golden opportunity for the banks. Now is the time for the banking sector to run with the momentum that is currently being generated and they should work non-stop to revitalise the public’s trust and reverse the damage that has been done in recent times, which was largely caused by poor or inappropriate sales philosophies.

“I’m confident that those banks which properly train their customer-facing staff and equip them with up-to-date product and service knowledge, as well as better interpersonal, relationship-building skills, will maximise profits, gain a greater share of the market and, crucially, win the public’s approval.”

He continues: “Selling financial products is an extremely sensitive area and those involved should make sure that they have the right skills and are fully informed about the products and services that their company is offering and how and to whom they are being offered. And because all finance matters are of a sensitive, important nature, they also need to develop top level personal skills to sell and promote effectively and to build long-term customer relationships and brand loyalty.”

During an event, which was organised by the Financial Times and attended by City figureheads, Mr. Carney stated: “By 2050, UK banks’ assets could exceed nine times GDP, and that is to say nothing of the potentially rapid growth of foreign banking and shadow banking based in London, if London keeps its share of global banking.

“Some would react to this prospect with horror. They would prefer that the UK financial services industry be slimmed down if not shut down.

“In the aftermath of the crisis, such sentiments have gone largely unchallenged but, if organised properly, a vibrant financial sector brings substantial benefits.”

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