Banking culture: a customer perspective

Authors: Sara Davies, Elaine Kempson and Kate Wood
Funded by: Financial Conduct Authority
Published by: Financial Services Consumer Panel 
Publication date: March 2016

While senior bankers are making all the right noises about culture change, this research commissioned by the UK Financial Services Consumer Panel shows that this is not filtering through to the front line. Customers think their bank is only interested in winning new business and not in looking after their best interests; that standards of service have fallen; and that bank staff don’t understand their needs. This is particularly true for micro-business customers, who feel badly let down by their banks.

The overall aim of the research was to provide an understanding of what an ideal, or positive, banking culture looks like from the perspective of personal and microenterprise customers and how it might be measured. Within this there were a number of more specific objectives:

  • To identify the key attributes of both a positive banking culture and a negative one from the perspective of personal and micro-enterprise customers.
  • To better understand what bank users expect and want from their bank.
  • To explore examples of how positive and negative cultures have manifested themselves in the experiences of personal and micro-enterprise customers in their dealings with their bank.
  • To explore any gaps between customer expectations and reality and how they believe that their experiences are influenced by the culture of their bank.
  • To explore what changes in bank culture are needed to improve customer experiences in future.
  • To identify a set of indicators to measure a bank's culture (ranked from positive to negative) from the perspective of a customer, and allow changes over time to be tracked.
  • To identify key components of culture from a customer perspective that might inform the supervisory and thematic review work of the FCA .

The research was qualitative, using focus groups, and was conducted in two stages.

Banking culture: a customer perspective (PDF, 354kB)
Financial Services Consumer Panel - Position Paper on Banking Culture [External Link to Financial Services Consumer Panel webpages]

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