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BULLIES AND BANKING: Survey lifts the lid on Industry norms
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FSU members have listed unrealistic sales targets - often with products that do not meet customers’ needs - and a culture where new sales, rather than servicing client needs, drives the industry.

Serious understaffing, overtime issues, a lack of relief, bullying and a widespread inability to take sick and annual leave head the list of finance workers’ other concerns about our industry.

These findings are from the survey conducted by the union among over 1200 banking and finance workers between 12 and 26 August 2016.

The compelling stories behind the survey results will be key items in the FSU’s response to the Australian Bankers Association’s independent review into product-based payments and other questionable practices that have damaged the reputation of the industry in recent years.

Responses have been drawn from employees Australia-wide. They include responses from financial planning, superannuation, insurance and banking. Women (69 per cent) easily outnumbered men in the study.

The survey showed many employees were paid very limited bonuses for achieving goals - and a lot missed out entirely.

While the independent inquiry has guaranteed that no names or identifying information will be passed on to banks, where survey responses are quoted the individual will not be named unless they have given FSU prior permission to do so.

Submissions are due on September 9.  Remember: It’s your pay. Time for your say.
 
Here are some of the things you have told us to date:

  • Customers feel the bank is interested only in profit. Cost cutting and offshoring is fuelling the incentive bonuses of countless executives.
     
  • When someone is dismissed for unethical reasons, it is usually one of the high performers who receive high rewards. But the bank continues to offer outrageous bonuses to these, which in turn encourages unethical behaviour.
     
  • Staff are asked to turn a blind eye to bullying, gift giving, sexual harassment and many other unethical behaviours, driven by incentives. They are also asked to hide information about the real reasons projects are undertaken; to avoid bad media coverage or the union being made aware of these practices.
     
  • The industry needs to look at customer service, not just sales.
     
  • With pressure to meet targets, sometimes there is unnecessary stress to create opportunities - even though illegitimate.
     
  • Customers have been registered for internet banking against their will.
     
  • Customers sometimes sense product pushing. Staff are under pressure to sell everything possible to clients.
     
  • Staff cuts and self-service options produce many complaints from customers.
     
  • Staff shortages in the credit department have often caused delays in getting loans approved and settled.
     
  • Harassment, micromanaging and bullying is rife and totally supported by industry heads. The whistle-blower process is useless and supports only management.
     
  • Bullying has a new name - Reasonable Management Action.
     
  • Frequent contacting of customers to quiz them on their banking is harassment. Many get accounts they don’t want. Sometimes, they don’t realise they’ve bought them. The elderly are often victims.
     
  • There is little service now. Customers are bullied out to the machine then told they're not allowed back in the branch. Executives turn a blind eye to what actually occurs in the branch, and allow this to happen through lack of staffing, poor staff training and general disregard for those who work for them.
     
  • There is too much pressure to meet targets at any cost. They should not be linked to pay increases.
     
  • People are working through lunch or finishing late and not being paid overtime. Some are getting called in on days off.
     
  • Customers needing service are ranked a poor second behind those with potential sales value.
     
  • The performance and rewards system is based on showing the largest possible financial benefit to the employer from one's activities.  So there is strong financial incentive for individuals to hide the bad; to not act ethically where unethical behaviour improves the immediate financial outcome.
     
  • Customers are frustrated because even if they want only to ask a simple question they're told to wait. If it’s a maintenance question the sales consultant doesn’t want to waste time with them because there's no sale in it.
     
  • Exacerbated anxiety, fatigue, sleeping problems, regular emotional breakdowns at work and tension headaches from stress result in missed work.
Contact Details
Member Rights Centre
Ph: 1300 366 378
ourjobsourfuture@fsunion.org.au

Authorised By: Geoff Derrick, National Assistant Secretary
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