TESCO Bank has become the latest British bank to stop frontline staff being incentivised through targeted product sales, MPs heard yesterday.
Benny Higgins, chief executive of Tesco Bank, said when the food retailer bought out Royal Bank of Scotland from the then-joint venture in late 2008 “we stopped having incentives in our call centres”.
Higgins told a Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards sub-committee that he felt it was important not to have sales targets aimed at frontline staff as Tesco Bank attempts to take on Britain’s big five high street operators.
“It’s not that people behave badly,” he said. “But it creates a pressure. It [sales-led incentive payments] is hard to implement at the level of frontline staff.”
Higgins said it was part of not “punishing” loyal bank customers through selling them inappropriate products. The Tesco Bank boss, who has also held senior positions with Scottish financial majors such as RBS, HBOS and Standard Life, said there was “not a bank in the world that does not talk a good game” on a customer-centric service. But the real touchstone was “what you tolerate”.
Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays are among those reviewing incentives for frontline staff.
Jayne-Anne Gadhia, boss of Virgin Money, and a former employee of RBS, said she was aware at her previous employer that seniors were aware of a problem with selling payment protection insurance “but no-one was prepared to be the “first mover” in pulling the plug.