Top 5 reasons we all love to hate the banks
The public is doing it. Even the PM is doing it. And the workforce don’t get a fair deal either. No matter how hard we try to warm to them, we just can’t help resenting the banks.
A new survey out today shows that the level of satisfaction with banks is low and that 63% people think that banks are getting worse at balancing profits and affordability.
Is it just another version of a national tall poppy syndrome, or are banks like those irritating over-achievers at school who just rubbed us up the wrong way for being obnoxious and successful? Or maybe there is a more simple reason – they can’t help acting badly.
1. Bank CEO salaries are bigger than Ben Hur – sure they run big businesses, but they are businesses that make money from our money. So when a glamorous CEO purchases a $9 million estate, we can’t help thinking she’s doing it with our money.
2. Exceeding the RBA’s interest rate rise to boost your banks’ bottom line is not a good look – perhaps that’s why 79 per cent of respondents to our survey supported government regulation on interest rates.
3. Making condescending viral videos is bananas - it does not support your cause. In fact any form of advertising and marketing that attempts to convince us that this bank is not actually a bank like all the rest does not wash.
4. Ordinary Australians’ debt levels have shot above GDP; but banks think you need more debt and will bully their staff to make sure you don’t forget it. In fact bank workers have pay rises tied to the amount of debt they sell you – something that 91 per cent of people think is a bad look.
5. Rather than boosting the workforce here, banks prefer to send jobs offshore to lower wages – and with the work goes your personal data to countries that do not have the same privacy protection as we enjoy here.
When you compare the solid half-yearly profit announcements from ANZ at $2.3 billion and Westpac at $2.9 billion to customer frustration at waiting longer in queues or online due to inadequate staffing; or customers feeling pressured to take up additional products when all they want is their question answered; it makes sense that everyone seems to be taking a hit at the banks.
Banks may bemoan the latest round of criticism as just another example of bank-bashing.
But the reality is that every institution is the sum of its actions – and when you look at the way banks make money, people struggle to see a public benefit.
And there is overwhelming support for banking reform:
- 70 per cent think that people can be paid too much, and it’s time to cap bank executive salaries.
- 87 per cent want to be warned before their personal data is sent overseas.
- 91 per cent think bank workers should be paid for their professional customer service, not selling products.
- 76 per cent want tougher regulation to stop personal debt from getting out of control.
That’s why the FSU believes its time to rebuild confidence in the banking sector. You can learn more and get involved at the Better Banking website.
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