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The Money Programme Friday, 1 October, 1999, 13:41 GMT 14:41 UK
More 26/09/99
The Money Programme

Bill Dalton: a question of trust
Bankers must work hard to earn their customers' trust, says Bill Dalton, the HSBC bank's UK chief executive.
Mr Dalton was speaking in an interview with The Money Programme, on the eve of Midland Bank's final conversion to HSBC, the name of its huge new owner.
Interviewed by Michael Robinson, he made it clear that he was painfully aware of the stinging criticism that has recently been raining down on British retail banks, particularly regarding the prices of their products and services.
"This is all about trust", he said. "It would be impossible really for any financial services provider to be the best in price, best in everything, for every product. I don't think that's possible.
"What we really have to do is to make sure that the products that we offer our customers are competitive, that they're well-priced, that they're fair, they're open and they're honest."

Mr Dalton was pressed on whether modern banks, which were aiming to be like financial supermarkets, could really offer the best value if they only offered customers their own services and products. It had recently been shown, for instance, that banks' own loans, mortgages and insurance were often poor value when compared with what else was available on the market.
"Does that mean that the banks will end up selling other people's products? I think it likely we will" said Mr Dalton. "That's a thing that will happen."
He also accepted that HSBC staff might have to tell customers that their own products were not the best value that they could buy. "If there's one thing that I want our bank to do," said Mr Dalton, "it's to be honest and open with our customers. I think that's an essential part of doing business."

The bank's Canadian-born boss said that British customers' stubborn loyalty to their banks could no longer be taken for granted.
"That will change" said Mr Dalton. "What will change it is the fact that the information on what's good for you, in terms of financial services, you can get at with a couple of clicks on your computer." He added: "The whole idea of inertia protecting the bank's customer base is a terrible way for a bank to base a strategy."
nstead, custom would have to be earned by giving people what they really wanted, rather than what the bank thought they should have.

Links to more The Money Programme stories are at the foot of the page.


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