Kate Hughes: It's time to battle PPI culture rather than vilify bankers

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The Independent Online

Wow, we're still angry with the banking sector. Apparently 70 per cent of us feel that banking executives should face criminal charges for their roles in the PPI mis-selling scandal according to, surprise, surprise, a PPI claims company.

In the week that Barclays announced it was setting aside another £1.35bn to bring the mis-selling payment fund to almost £4bn, the figures from Forbes Douglas also found that nearly two thirds of people want the Government to force banks to pro-actively track down and compensate affected customers.

Criminal charges? I don't ever lose sleep over the plight of the banker, but criminal charges, presumably for fraud, would suggest that swathes of senior execs went into the boardroom and said "I've had a great idea lads, we're going to use PPI to deliberately defraud the British public."

Unlikely. What is more likely is that yet again, an industry-wide, ingrained tactic to maximise profits among commercial organisations in itself offered a repeating loop of seeming justification. Consciences were swept aside by those focused on the bottom line rather than the customer.

I'm not saying that makes it OK, but several have already lost their jobs and will, rightly, never work in the industry again. What should concern us is deconstructing the culture that spawned PPI. We must now seek transparency, change attitudes and pounce on the next round of emerging mis-selling issues. Expensive legal action will do nothing for the out-of-pocket man on the street.

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