Both HSBC and RBS are trying to get a greater share of the mortgage market with both banks having increased their share of approvals in the first half of 2018. Goldman Sachs – in a research note on mortgage competition – are predicting that Lloyds Banking Group will be the worst hit by intense mortgage competition, with HSBC and RBS picking up most of the market share that will be redistributed in 2018.

The pressure on Lloyds to maintain its market leading position in this important area is intense. Jakob Pfaudler, Group Director, Community Banking, recently said:

“we are very keen to make the best use of our branches and we do believe that we have a real opportunity in our branch channel. So if anything we would like to grow the weight on the branch channel”.

Over time that means a big increase in remote advice customer access points from 42 in 2017 to 600 by 2020. The number of remote advice appointments will increase from 25,000 in 2017 to 240,000 by 2020. The consequences of that on staff numbers going forward is a discussion for another day.

The pressure to increase mortgage sales in branches is clear and it’s being driven directly from the top of the bank. We understand that meeting complex customer needs is important for the future of the branch networks and that mortgages are a key customer interaction but the Bank must achieve that objective in the right way.

Time and time again we see how pressure from the top to achieve key business objectives can drive the wrong kind of behaviours further down the management chain. The vast majority of line managers can resist taking the easy options and will manage their staff accordingly but there are some who instinctively go back to what worked in the past. In the North East Group all staff, regardless of their role or performance, have been put on coaching plans because of the lack of mortgage referrals. Who said the wrong kind of sales culture was dead! What kind of message does it send to staff when they turn up for work and the first thing they see is that they are all on coaching plans? Coaching plans are being abused in order to achieve a specific business target. That is wrong.

On the coaching plans it says:

“Following Yakob’s [We think the Local Director is referring to Jakob Pfaudler, Group Director Community Banking] video which described the 4Ps, more specifically Performance and the group webex around the importance of helping our customers with their mortgage journey. The part you play is to ensure you contribute to the mortgage diaries. These actions are linked to the colleague framework, efficient and effective tool and the metrics in your BSC.”

There is no evidence that Mr. Pfaudler has approved this blanket approach to securing mortgage referrals but now he knows about it we would expect it and the Local Director’s approach to sales management to be stopped immediately.

No one denies that mortgage sales are important but the LD’s approach is simply wrong. Members with any specific examples of the wrong kind of behaviours, like the one we have highlighted in the North East Group, should contact the Union’s Advice Team on 01234 262868 (Choose Option 1) or email us at


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