A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Bugger Barclays!

King George V was supposed to have uttered the words "Bugger Bogner" on his deathbed. This was in response to a suggestion that he might recover from his illness and visit Bognor Regis. Had he banked with Barclays, he might have said something similar.

Tonight on the BBC in the Whistleblower programme, Barclays Bank was exposed as being a hardbitten salesman's paradise. Staff are given targets to sell spurious "extras" to customers. It's no longer a case of just having your money with them. As the manager of the Guildford branch opined "This is a business and we make money. I'm a shareholder and it's our business to make a success......" No Captain Mainwaring anymore. Just a bunch of cynical spivs!
Now, of course, Barclays are quick to point out that these cases are isolated cases. The response seems weak. Although they have not seen the programme, it beggars belief that they don't know that this mis-selling goes on. It would seem they are as much in denial of the ruthlessness of their sales call centres as the NHS has been over MRSA. The BBC programme gave a fairly accurate view of a culture that is deepseated.
If Barclays wants to give the British public the sense that they actually do want to stamp out this behaviour, why set these ridiculous sales targets in the first place? Mandy Rice Davies should have been asked to comment. The truth is that banks have become financial sales businesses and are pushing more and more onto the customers.
For all those who saw the Whistleblower programme, and indeed, those who didn't, it is now time for Barclays to declare that they will no longer tolerate any employee using such tactics as the programme revealed. The cat is out of the bag. The sales call centre and the branches are now under scrutiny. But if they just hope it will all die down and things will start back up as before, then those banking with Barclays might very well emulate the late king's sentiments!


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