“Of course sales-driven retail banking is an abomination”, said the obviously frustrated retail banking executive. “I hate it, but I need the job. I learnt how to put up with things I do not like doing when I was in the military”, he added despairingly.
The thought of a well-paid senior retail banker who goes to work every day to manage a team of sales staff who have no real interest in their clients’ needs is depressing, to say the least. The staff he is talking about have backgrounds in furniture stores, car showrooms, in fact anywhere but banking – and they could not care less whether the products they push onto unsuspecting clients are good or bad for them. “Eventually people wake up, but the salesman has usually moved on”, he adds
This Asian banker is passionate about his profession and gets great satisfaction from teaching students about how retail banking should function when it is done properly. “They identify with what I teach them, and then ask why retail banking is so different in practice”, he continues.
Our conversation turns to the country’s banks and their top management teams. It’s the same old story – investment banking and a deal-making culture pervades every bank and the regulators are totally oblivious to what this means for consumers.