A vote of no confidence in politicians to change banking

No political party or politician has gained the confidence of consumers to change banking culture and practices, a new Which? survey reveals.

More than half of consumers say the Coalition Government (58%) and the Opposition (55%) would be ineffective at delivering change in banking, with more than a quarter saying they don’t trust any political party (28%) or politician (29%) to do so.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband are the politicians that people most trust to deliver change in the culture and practices in banking, but scoring only 14% and 15% respectively. The Chancellor George Osborne and Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls are even further behind, with only five per cent of people trusting each of them to sort out banking.

The findings come as over 80,000 people have pledged their support to call for Big Change in banking. Which? and campaign group 38 Degrees are urging the public to show the banking inquiry that they want banks to put customers first, not bankers.

Consumers are fed up with poor customer service and mis-selling, with more than four in 10 (43%) complaining that banks have tried to sell them a product or service in the last year that they didn’t want or need. And almost half (48%) say they don’t trust their bank to recommend products and services that are of benefit to them.

As the Conservative Party conference gets underway, and following promises by the Liberal Democrats and Labour to reform banking, the results suggest that all the political parties need to do much more to convince consumers they can sort out the broken banking system.

Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith said:

“Consumers don’t trust the banks to reform themselves and have given a vote of no confidence in any of the main political parties to change the culture of banking. This public mistrust is a consequence of the way banks have been allowed to get away with mass mis-selling, poor service and one scandal after another without any individuals being properly held to account.

“We want to see big change in our banking system to put right the failings of the past that have so badly damaged consumer trust and confidence, and to make banks work for customers not bankers.”

The Which? research also found that over a third of people feel that none of the party leaders are on the side of consumers (34%).

Six in ten consumers (62%) say the banks are ineffective at delivering change. Just half of the population think that the Bank of England (51%) and the Financial Services Authority (47%) can effectively deliver change.

Which? has launched a major new ‘Big Change’ campaign to put consumers’ best interests at the heart of banking reform. People can support the campaign by signing the ‘Big Change’ pledge here.

‘Big Change’ is calling for:

  • Banks to put customers first, not sales.
  • Bankers to meet professional standards and comply with an independent code of conduct.
  • Bankers to be punished for mis-selling and bad practice.

Notes to editors:

1. Populus interviewed a random sample of 1035 GB adults aged 18+ online between 3rd and 4th October 2012.  Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults.  Populus is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

 Poll results:

How effective or ineffective do you think each of the following would be at delivering change in the culture and practices in banking in the UK?

Which politician do you most trust to deliver change in the culture and practices in banking in the UK?

To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?

Which political party leader, if any, do you associate with each of the following words or phrases?



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