Five years on and three quarters of people say banks still haven’t learnt their lesson

Five years on from the day the global financial crisis officially started and the public are more disillusioned with the banking sector than ever before.

As the Parliamentary Inquiry on Banking Standards prepares to get underway, a new Which? survey has found almost three-quarters (71%) of people don’t think UK banks have learnt their lesson from the financial crisis – up from 61% in September 2011.

Consumers also have low expectations that the Inquiry will lead to change, with only a quarter of people (26%) confident that it will lead to positive improvements in UK banks.

Since the start of the financial crisis consumers have been bearing the brunt of the recession with the Which? latest wellbeing survey showing that nearly half are worried about mortgage rates (45%) and the level of their household debt (42%).


At the same time, consumers have been hit by a series of bank scandals, which have further exposed the broken culture and mismanagement in UKbanking. These include the mis-selling of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI), which is now on course to be the biggest financial scandal of all time, Libor interest rate rigging, and IT system failures at Natwest and Nationwide.  Which? is calling for the Banking Inquiry to produce tough new proposals to force banks to work better for consumers by tackling the lack of competition and culture in banking.

Other findings from Which? are:

  • 84% of people think that the banks have not done enough to change the banking industry to ensure another credit crunch does not happen again – an increase from 76% in September 2011.
  • 71% think the banking culture hasn’t got any better since the start of the credit crunch.
  • 50% of people think that the government’s handling of the banking industry has also got worse.
  • 80% think there is a deeper problem with the culture in banks than just a few individuals making bad decisions.

Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith said:

“Five years on from the beginning of the financial crisis, public confidence in the banking industry is at an all time low, with a series of scandals exposing mis-management and corruption at the very heart of the banking system that have cost UK consumers dear.

“The Parliamentary Banking Inquiry must produce proposals for fundamental change to the culture and practices of the banks and put the best interests of consumers back at the centre of reforms. Nothing should be off the table if the Government is to rebuild consumer confidence in this essential service.”

Which? wants the Inquiry to focus on the needs of consumers, and to make recommendations for handing power back to bank customers and transforming the culture and level of competition in the banking sector to achieve this.

– ENDS –

Notes to editors:

1               On 9th August 2007, the European Central Bank released €95bn of liquidity to prevent borrowing costs from spiralling, marking the start of the credit crunch. The US Federal Reserve followed suit with $24bn, and the Dow Jones Average dropped by nearly 400 points.

2               Populus, on behalf of Which?, interviewed 2000 GB adults online between 3rd and 5th August 2012.  Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all GB adults. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

3               Our latest wellbeing survey was also run by Populus, who interviewed 2003 GB adults online between 31st July and 2nd August 2012.  Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all GB adults.

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