Bamboozled

BY DEEANNA ROLLINS

In the last month or so, CBC has received over 1,000 emails from employees of the big five Canadian banks, CIBC, RBC, BMO, TD and Scotiabank, claiming to feel “pressured to upsell, trick and even lie to customers to meet unrealistic sales targets.”

According to the law, in order for a consumer to be provided with a new product or credit limit, financial institutions are required to inform them of all the potential hidden costs and charges that may occur with said product.

Unfortunately, that’s not what’s happening. Financial advisers from all over Canada say the pressure on them to meet targets means they haven’t been as upfront as they should have been.

The employees feel like if they don’t conform to specific rules and meet certain targets, they will lose their jobs. This is a very real, and very scary, possibility. It’s a wonder it has taken this long for someone to come out and say how terrible they feel for doing this to loyal bank customers.

“It’s not what’s important to our clients anymore,” said an RBC teller in an email to the CBC. “The bank wants more and more money and it’s leading everyone into debt.”

A CIBC teller said something along the same lines in an email.“Hit those targets, who cares if it’s hurting customers.”

This may be hard to hear, but they really are just doing what they’re told. Like in any other industry, employees are told to upsell, upsell, upsell. You, as an employee, are to do everything you can to make your employer the most money possible.

Whether or not that’s selling someone a side of gravy or making their credit limit an extra $500, they’re still just doing their jobs.

We, as a society, cannot be angry at the tellers and financial advisers for doing what they’re told for fear of losing their jobs. We would probably do the same thing.

The anger, frustration and outright disappointment needs to be focused upon the higher-ups. The officials who can actually make a difference.

Dissect your bank records and look for charges you didn’t know about. Call your branch manager and complain about these tactics and schemes. And, if you aren’t satisfied with their response, or were charged a fee you weren’t aware of beforehand, pull your money from that bank and go elsewhere.

Doing nothing does not send a message.

The views herein represent the position of the newspaper, not necessarily the author.

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