Whistleblower reveals Lloyds' sales techniques

Lloyds Banking Group has been fined a record £28 million by the Financial Conduct Authority. Photo: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

The old-fashioned image of your responsible, cautious, perhaps a little staid bank manager has been pushed further into the history books today, especially if you are a customer of Lloyds Banking Group.

Together with its subsidiaries, Halifax and Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Bank has been handed a record fine for failing to control the way staff were rewarded for selling loans, insurance and protection products.

Huge bonuses for selling but remarkable penalties for failing to sell meant branch staff were incentivised to sell customers things they didn't want or didn't need.

What's worse is that the regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), says this was happening not during the boom years but as recently as 2011.

But that's not all. ITV News has learned that some of these practices have continued into 2013 - long after the FCA made Lloyds group management aware of the problems in 2011.

We have spoken to a member of the sales staff who left in recent months, unhappy at a relentless pressure to "sell, sell, sell".

He describes how managers refer to customers not as people but by the products they are being pushed to buy: "loans, credit cards, mortgages" and how failing to meet targets resulted in "punishments" of being moved to a branch far away from home, salaries being cut and even being threatened with the sack.

Most worrying of all, he described how management - as recently as this summer - demonstrated they knew the risks and the investigation by the regulator, but carried on with their old ways.

"We're not supposed to say this anymore but we're in the real world and need to meet sales targets," the former employee heard as managers encouraged him and others to meet tough demands.

The FCA says Lloyds started tackling the problems in 2011, and Lloyds Banking Group itself says in a statement it has made "significant changes to ensure all its schemes are focused on doing the right things for customers."

Our evidence suggests it has some way to go to change the culture.

Economics editor Richard Edgar's report below contains an interview with a different whistleblower:

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