Opinion

Revenge of the comment section: Don't blame the banks... entirely

CBC commenters point out that "buyer beware" applies to bank customers, too

Banks

CBC commenters generally agree that banks shouldn't engage in high-pressure sales tactics. (Dillon Hodgin/CBC)

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After a CBC Go Public investigation revealed shady sales tactics at TD bank — wherein employees admitted to pressuring and sometimes deceiving customers to reach unrealistic sales targets — workers from the other big four banks sent in over a thousand emails sharing similar experiences.

Commenters largely agree that banks shouldn't engage in these practices, but many point out that consumers also need to learn more about debt and how to manage their money.  

Crossing a line

I am not against banks trying to sell me a new service. But when the sales pressure on the bank employees is so intense that the employees deliberately provide false information, that's when the banks cross the line.

I hope a few of the C-level management personnel implicated here are punished appropriately. As far as I'm concerned, the bank stole from me.

William Ahrens

Read the fine print

Maybe it's time people get financially educated, read that small print and maybe, just maybe, take some personal responsibility for decisions they make.

Gerry Surtees

A society of overspenders

This behaviour from the banks shouldn't be happening, but I have to say: one thing that bothers me is the mentality of our society as a whole. At the end of the day, if you spend money you don't have, and as a result you are in debt, that is your own fault. When people are signed up for overdraft protection, credit cards, line of credit accounts — that in and of itself does not cause them to go into debt. Sure, it makes it easier for them to go into debt, but as a society I think we need to stop blaming others for where we are at in our life, and start taking more responsibility for our own actions.

If you have overdraft protection and you never use it, then it doesn't cost you anything or put you into debt. If you have a Visa, and you only use it as much as you can pay off each month, then it doesn't cost you anything. If you have a line of credit that you never use, it doesn't cost you anything.

All that being said, I do agree that there seems to be some evidence showing bank employees behaving in an unethical manner, but it is also troubling to see components of this reporting suggesting that as soon as people have access to debt, they have no choice but to use it. It is 100 per cent their choice whether they use it or not, and if they end up in more debt as a result, it is 100 per cent on them.

David Sorenson

Corporate haters

I do love my banks. Strong capital gains, sweet dividends, no account fees and cheap loans. Most of the grousing about our banks comes from corporate haters and those who have no idea how to properly use a bank.

Albert Franken

Greed

Nothing more than greed without morals. Let's see how our government handles this gross injustice. It appears that no matter how much money they make on the backs of our citizens, banks are still not happy. To treat their own staff members like this is totally unacceptable. Why these bank employees haven't joined a union is beyond me.

Francis Doyle

Make banks public

This is why banks shouldn't be private institutions. Every country should have one public bank. That way everyone would get a fair shake, not just rich people who can afford to pay someone to take care of their finances (or people obsessed with money). Same goes for insurance companies. 

Derek May

Symbiotic relationship

Good luck getting the government to do anything against the banks. Our economy and pension plans are far too connected to make a significant change.

Brenda Estile

That's business, kids

The fees are just crazy when you consider that we let the banks use our money in investments. But as far as the pressure for employees to upsell, that's business, kids. Everyone is trying to upsell. Welcome to a free market society!

Chris Rhynold

Climbing the ladder

All those little bosses are trying to impress their bosses. Got to climb the corporate ladder.

Lorne J Wolfe

Shame

When you consider that all of these private financial institutions are making hefty profits already, the only phrase that comes into my mind is: shame on you.

R. Gabrielle Berry


Comments have been edited for length and clarity.

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