Research by Which? suggests bankers come close to the bottom of the pile interms of consumer trust in the professional services.
Only politicians and journalists come lower. It seems the expenses scandal for MPs, phone hacking and Leveson inquiry for journalists and PPI, Libor and the IT glitch at RBS have caused these three professions to remain rooted at the bottom in terms of customer trust.
Just 11 per cent of people trust bankers to act in their best interests and only six per cent link ethical behavior with bankers.
Consumer champion Which? is stepping up its call for reform to the banking sector with the launch of its new campaign “Big Change”.
The campaign aims to put pressure on the banking sector to put customers above profits and reveals that bankers are just above journalists and politicians in terms whether people trust them or not.
It wants sanctions introduced to claw back bonuses in the event of corrupt practices or mis-selling.
The campaign also aims to encourage pressure from consumers on the industry and government ahead of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards in December.
Other findings from the survey show that 67 per cent of respondents think a banker is unlikely to lose their job if they lie or cheat, whilst 63 per cent believe a banker would not be sacked if they break banking rules. 4 per cent felt bankers delivered consistently poor service and received a high number of complaints from customers.
Nurses, doctors and teachers topped the list.
The findings come after a year that has been dominated by banking scandals, from the PPI mis-selling scandal, to the manipulation of the interbank lending rate Libor to the IT debacle that affected millions of NatWest customers.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: "We thought we'd seen banking at its lowest point when the public were forced to bail out the banks but since then we've seen the libor rate-rigging scandal and continued mis-selling. All the while the bankers who presided over corruption continue to enjoy hugely inflated pay and bonuses.”
Which? and MoneySavingExpert have joined together in recent months to campaign against claims management companies taking commission for resolving PPI compensation claims.
Last week Which? launched a campaign aimed at making bank account numbers portable like mobile phones to encourage consumers to switch.
Its new campaign, “Big Change”, is calling for bankers remuneration to be linked to performance that prioritises customer service over profits.
Which? also wants to see a new independent professional standards body set up that forces bankers to comply with professional standards and a new code of conduct that would see miscreants struck off.
The campaign calls for the most senior banking staff to have compulsory qualifications and to be trained in ethical behavior and resolving conflicts of interest.
It also says that bad practice or mis-selling must be punished with senior executives held accountable and that stronger criminal sanctions should be available up to board level if individuals have presided over corrupt practices.
Richard Lloyd said: "Consumers are continually being short changed - we need to see Big Change in banking now. Customer service should come before sales, standards and ethics must improve, and bankers must be held to account . We want banks for customers, not bankers."