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If you're one of the 18 million customers of banks, you may be interested to know about some of the changes underway to make banking better.
Banks are living change and doing so at an unprecedented rate. A significant program of reform kicked off 18 months ago and has resulted in major changes to the way banks do business.
Tellers not sellers
Banks are moving away from a sales-based incentive culture so they no longer reward employees for up-selling or cross-selling products. Remuneration and performance management systems are being overhauled so that good customer service is the dominant feature. This change is the result of an independent review into how banks pay staff which found risks of poor customer outcomes if incentives are based on sales volumes.
Meaningful change such as this takes time, but it is happening right now. Some banks have already announced plans to start implementing the reforms this year, while others have been moving in this direction for some time now.
New customer advocates have been appointed in banks to help customers resolve complaints. More importantly, they are working across the bank to try and stop things going wrong in the first place.
New Code of Banking Practice
An independent review of the Code of Banking Practice was completed this year, which measured how bank conduct standards are meeting community expectations. The Code, first introduced in 1993, is the banking industry’s customer charter on good banking practice.
It has evolved over time to continue to improve standards and practices within banks, which has led to better outcomes for bank customers and prompted improved practices across the financial services industry.
The independent reviewer consulted widely with consumer groups, regulators and other interested parties on a diverse range of issues and presented 99 recommendations to the industry and we are currently writing the new Code – in good old plain English – so bank customers can better understand their rights and responsibilities when dealing with banks.
The new Code will also have a clear commitment to ethical behaviour by banks.
The highest set of whistleblower protections is being implemented across banks for the benefit of the industry’s 145,000 employees. The aim is to ensure bank staff feel confident they can report inappropriate behaviour without fear of adverse consequences.
Stopping poor conduct
Banks are changing the way they hire employees to stop individuals with poor conduct records moving around the industry from one job to the next escaping detection. Banks will be able to share more information with each other about a job applicant’s employment history and conduct, and ask a series of fact-based questions, including whether someone was dismissed or resigned in circumstances relating to misconduct.
More information about these and many other inititatives are available at betterbanking.net.au