City minister on pushing beyond treating customers fairly

City minister on pushing beyond treating customers fairly

Stephen Barclay, the City minister, used a speech to call for business to move beyond just “treating customers fairly”

Speaking at the British Bankers Association’s Retail Banking Conference 2017, economic secretary Stephen Barclay addressed the current face of retail banking, including the introduction of new technologies, such as tap and go, which have been accepted by the public.

Mr Barclay said: “It is an evolution that moves beyond the previous debate about treating customers fairly, to one where the customer is better able to exploit choices, which delivers benefits to the UK economy as a whole." 

Article continues after advert

The minister added that “firms who grasp this change” will benefit from “a deeper relationship with their customers.”

Technology is central to the evolution from treating customers fairly to giving them the tool to access financial services and products in a way that best suits them.

Mr Barclay said this was even more important in fractious times such as these where worries about Brexit and the economy weigh on the minds of customers. 

However, he noted the public’s appetite for innovations is something the industry should work with, pointing out the success of ATMs over 50 years, and more recently 'tap and go'. 

Mr Barclay, a former banker, added: “On one hand, you have a new entrants, like Metro, competing by offering a traditional, full service, high street bank. Others are targeting niches, and neo-banks, such as Atom, are taking on incumbents with the latest technology, using face and voice authentication to make life that bit easier for their customers. 

“All offer consumers a choice, aided by fast, easy switching. And it is customers exercising their choice that will drive up standards, improve service, dictate price.”