There has been a great deal of reporting in the news recently about predatory sales tactics in banks and the dissatisfied employees forced to use them. No one would deny that there are examples of bad business and the resulting unhappy employees and customers to be found in every industry, but this doesn’t match my own experience.
Amongst reports about a number of complainants, we hear not a word about the millions of customers who have never been forced to buy a product they don’t want; not a word about the thousands of employees who have never been bullied into selling unethically. Nor will we hear from those people in the news because it is human nature to speak up mostly when one is not satisfied.
I would like to speak up for those of us who are satisfied. I have used the same bank for 25 years, and the same bank branch for 21 of those (for those who care to know, it is the BMO in downtown Brandon). I used other banks before that. Despite being a prime target, I have never experienced predatory banking. My bank is not my BFF. Sometimes they make business decisions that I don’t like, such as adding fees that cost me more or terminating services that I had valued, but they are always up front about it.
Occasionally they make a mistake that costs me some dollars (never very many). When I alert them, they have always fixed it immediately and compensated me for any inconvenience. I value the financial products they have sold me over the years. I appreciate the advice they give me, and I have always found with hindsight that it has served my interests. As a result, I trust the people who work at my bank.
In any industry, but particularly in the financial industry, that type of long-term relationship building, and the trust that comes with it, is worth much more than any short-term sales. Banks know that, and editors and reporters in the media are well aware of it, too — or ought to be.