"We Are All Doing It": Thousands Of Canadian Bankers Admit Lying To Customers To Boost Sales

Tyler Durden's picture

Several days after shares of Canada's TD Bank tumbled following reports that its employees were engaging in practices similar to those which led to a major scandal at Wells Fargo, which cost CEO John Stumpf his job and led to bonus clawbacks and numerous terminations over the practice of "cross-selling", employees from all five of Canada's big banks have flooded CBC's "Go Public" whistleblower hotline with stories of how they too feel pressured to upsell, trick and even lie to customers to meet unrealistic sales targets and keep their jobs.

In nearly 1,000 emails, employees from RBC, BMO, CIBC, TD and Scotiabank locations across Canada describe the pressures to hit targets that are monitored weekly, daily and in some cases hourly.  "Management is down your throat all the time," said a Scotiabank financial adviser. "They want you to hit your numbers and it doesn't matter how."

The deluge is fuelling multiple calls for a parliamentary inquiry similar to that which followed the Wells Fargo revelations, even as the banks claim they're acting in customers' best interests, CBC reported, adding it has agreed to protect their identities because the workers are concerned about current and future employment.

Some examples:

An RBC teller from Thunder Bay, Ont., said even when customers don't need or want anything, "we need to upgrade their Visa card, increase their Visa limits or get them to open up a credit line." "It's not what's important to our clients anymore," she said. "The bank wants more and more money. And it's leading everyone into debt."

A CIBC teller said, "I am expected to aggressively sell products, especially Visa. Hit those targets, who cares if it's hurting customers."

A financial services manager who left BMO in Calgary two months ago said he quit after having a full-blown panic attack in his branch manager's office as she threatened to stifle his banking career because he hadn't met sales targets.  "It was like the only thing they cared about at BMO," he said. "If you weren't selling, you weren't worth having around."

He claims his manager once told him not to tell clients who wanted to invest more than $40,000 that the markets were down, because putting their money into GICs wouldn't earn the branch as much sales revenue.

He said she also told him to attach high interest rates on mortgages and lines of credit and to not tell clients those interest rates are negotiable. He said he was "pressured to lie and cheat customers," but refused to do it.

As CBC adds, the revelations about other banks came pouring in after Go Public revealed last week that front-line staff at TD were under pressure to sell customers products and services they may not need and that some employees were breaking the law  to hit their sales revenue targets. Those stories, experts say, prompted the largest drop in TD Bank shares since the financial market downturn of 2009.

They also resulted in hundreds more emails from TD workers past and present, including a teller who recently stopped working in Bramalea, Ont., who said the requirement to meet ever-increasing goals was so unprofessional, "I thought this was not a bank but a flea market."


He admits to acting unethically because he says he feared being fired. "I bumped up credit cards, overdraft or account types just because of the pressures."


A TD insurance broker in Barrie, Ont., wrote, "We are straight up told to tell false stories (lie) to sell products." And an RBC financial adviser told Go Public, "We are all doing it."

It gets worse: many bank employees described pressure tactics used by managers to try to increase sales. An RBC certified financial planner in Guelph, Ont., said she's been threatened with pay cuts and losing her job if she doesn't upsell enough customers. "Managers belittle you," she said. "We get weekly emails that highlight in red the people who are not hitting those sales targets. It's bullying."

Employees at several RBC branches in Calgary said there are white boards posted in the staff room that list which financial advisers are meeting their sales targets and which advisers are coming up  short. Similar white board results are reported at Scotiabank branches in Toronto.

"The entire team can see who is keeping them down. It's shaming," said a Scotiabank financial adviser who told Go Public she's taking early retirement "because this environment is not for me."

* * *

Go Public requested interviews with the CEOs of the five big banks — BMO, CIBC, RBC, Scotiabank and TD — but all predictably declined. Instead, they sent statements, essentially saying the banks act in the best interest of their clients, and that employees are expected to follow codes of conduct. The statements did not address employees' concerns about high-pressure sales tactics.

Meanwhile, calls for a government probe are growing. NDP finance critic Alexandre Boulerice is now calling for a parliamentary inquiry into the sales practices of Canada's banks. "We expect banks to be honest with their clients ... and now we are learning that those employees are under considerable pressure to sell, sell, sell to boost profits of the banks," he said. "This is so greedy. It is not acceptable."

Stan Buell, founder of the Small Investor Protection Association, agrees it's time for the federal government to take action. "We've got a culture that exists on greed, lying and deceiving people, and it's not going to end soon," he said. "This is why the only solution really is to have government step in and look after the Canadian people. Because I feel the Canadian people deserve better than to serve as grist for the mill of these great financial organizations."

A spokesperson for Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the minister wasn't available for an interview, but sent a statement that says Morneau "expects all financial institutions in Canada to adhere to the highest standards when it comes to their consumer protection obligations."

* * *

TD shareholder Allan Best says he's concerned about more than the bank's bottom line after last week's stock dip, telling Go Public, "It is my position that employees are our most important asset and we have to do all we can to keep them in good mental and physical condition." The emails Go Public received from bank employees suggest not only have the sales targets increased dramatically in recent years, so has the pressure to meet them.

"I want the world to know how much pressure we are all under on a daily basis," wrote an RBC teller in Ontario. "We hit our target and the next week, they up them again. It's out of control."

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Erek's picture

Only the Canadian bankers? And here, I thought it was wide-spread.

JRobby's picture

"Bankster Mentality"

A World Wide "Disorder"

As NO BANKERS (except Iceland and a few scapegoats here and there) HAVE BEEN PROSECUTED, IT CASTS A BLACK MORAL SHADOW ON SOCIETY AS A WHOLE.

Erek's picture

Don't you mean "it casts a black moral shadow on society as a hole"?

NoDebt's picture

"Lie" is such an ugly word.  I feel like I've been micro-aggressed.  The correct term is "misspeak".  

And if you're caught in a "misspeak" you do not apologize, you "regret your actions".


JRobby's picture

Bottom line is, when they know they are unlikely to be prosecuted, they will tell larger and larger lies to "make the numbers". Who does this serve?

jcaz's picture

"Employees are our most valuable asset"-

I am SO sick of that line of bull.

I'll put my money with the next bank that can admit the truth:

"Employees are our most disposable asset".

nope-1004's picture

An admission about what I've been saying for years:


And if you Canucks think the TFSA isn't a scam to keep bank reserve ratios up, you're going to be bit hard one day.


flicker life's picture
flicker life (not verified) nope-1004 Mar 15, 2017 9:54 AM

I'm making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do... http://bit.ly/2jdTzrM

HenryKissingerChurchill's picture

Fücking Apu, poor guy needs to feed Manjula and their offspring of eight.

CPL's picture

It's all fairy tale horseshit and yes, the RRSP contribution scheme is exactly that.  A scheme.

847328_3527's picture

Lying to as many customers as posisble and handing out bad loans is simply one way they build their banker resumes.

CPL's picture


The only reason the RRSP scheme was put into place in the 80's and 90's was to bolster the loan industry.  In Canada, after mortgages, the loans for Canadians to top up their contributions to their RRSP is the second runner up this time of year.  Originally the idea sold for RRSP's was to provide a mechanism to freeze money out of the economic system to cool off the economy.  As a second knife getting twisted in the side of all Canadians, most of the people obtaining homeloans use their RRSP's to place down payments on horribly over valued property.

The 401k and RRSP system is DOA.  There is no reason to keep it, it will never operate as intended, has never operated as intended and yeah, it'll get raided just like everyone else's systems have been raided.  The fact is the people that set up this crap never intended to honour anything.  They just want people up to their eyeballs in debt.

Justin Case's picture

It actually goes back into the system to 10x leverage by banks and the developer pockets the proceeds to develop moar properties. It fuels the bubble economy. $25 grand on a million dollar house is not much as a percent. It just gets moar people in debt, to spend the funds out of eqities to go into debt and pay banks interest.

  • you may only withdraw up to a maximum of $25,000 from your RRSP. If you are married or purchasing the property with another first-time home buyer, each individual may withdraw up to a maximum of $25,000 from an RRSP for a total of $50,000.
  • Only the individual who owns the RRSP can withdraw the funds. You can make withdrawals from more than one RRSP as long as you are the owner. The combined withdrawal amount cannot exceed the $25,000 maximum per individual.
  • Generally, you cannot use funds from a locked-in RRSP.

As of 2008 RRSPs were not included in bankruptcy, same as corporate pension money. Once outside the RSP they become part of the asset (house) therefore assets included in a bankruptcy. By by RSP fund.

2_legs_bahhhhhd's picture

rrsps....the biggest scam ever. Tax deferred money locked in forever, until you need it, then you get ass taxed and inflation whacked simultaneously. All that money in the last 35 years could have paid off every single mortgage twice, with real cash savings to boot.

I refused to participate in those tfsa"s back in 2009, it was an obvious public refinancing of the banks to avoid a more obvious bail in. One day soon, they will renege on that deal, cause , well government just can't keep their hands out your fucking pockets.

Canadian banks have been lying about their profits for years...they are higher than they admit, cause Canucks might actually get pissed about something......might

garypaul's picture

You think RRSPs are bad? Try TFSA, total f*n joke.

Justin Case's picture

RSPs are just tax deferals.

When you retire or are out of work yoar taxable income is lower b/c you have no earnings.

I got layed off in the 80's recession and pulled funds from the RSP. I deposited my severance pay into an RSP the year I worked, and got a refund by using the RSP contribution tax deduction. I had a nice refund for that year and funds in the RSP. I withdrew funds from the RSP when I was out of work the following year. No other income, so my tax bracket was minimum. I just used an amount I needed until I found another job. If I counted my salary that year and my severance pkg. I would have earnings in the highest tax bracket and would most likely had to pay additional income tax that year. Then nothing the year I was out of work.

So I don't see it as a scheme. You can use the funds when yoar income is low, out of work or retired. Why pay the max income tax when you know in the future you will retire and need to supplement yoar Gov't pension or get layed off?

Ghost of PartysOver's picture

I thought those crazy Loonies were supposed to be a friendly bunch.  Maybe I was wrong.

Note to Canadians:  There are some things American that you do NOT want to duplicate.  Trust me on this.

PT's picture

Over the years I have said many times:  All the honest bankers were either fired for "under-performance" or passed-over for promotion due to "under-performance".

This is not the first article to back my assertions.  It don't take a rocket surgeon to figure it out either.

JLM's picture

Canada thinks that the American's have something to offer so they hire them to direct them.  This is what they get.  Looks good on them.  TD will be hated if they don't completely reverse this.

mkkby's picture

Are all you losers socialists now?  These are sales positions.  Why is it wrong for employers to insist their sales staff meet targets, or fire them for poor performance?

It's not bullying to ask your customer to buy more.  Every restaurant pushes their specials, deserts, drinks.  Every retailer pushes their credit card.  Every bank has always mentioned their investments/loans/CDs/etc.  Unless you are a whining millenial, you can just say "no thanks".  It's not a micro agression.

Bankers were never your friend, never out for your best interests.  If you thought that then you are a fucking imbecile.  Of course rates are negotiable.  The price of everything is.  Shop around for the best deal.  Am I speaking Greek, or are any of you adults here?

PT's picture

You're the kind of guy who will be trampled by the herd so you will blame the herd and forever refuse to acknowledge the cowboy that started the stampede. 

They don't have to put a gun to your head to enslave you.  All they have to do is lend money to idiots, who will then push prices up, and you will forever think there is no better way.  Wake up!  They figured out how to hack your ideologies a LOOOOONG time ago.  The other side is breaking the rules that you so dogmatically cling to.  Tear down the fucking curtain and take a good look at what is really going on.

Newsflash!  A couple of rich smart-asses have worked out how to weaponize dumb cunts and use them against you.  Take a good look at what is going on out there.

HenryKissingerChurchill's picture

"Employees are our most valuable asset"- I am SO sick of that line of bull.
I'll put my money with the next bank that can admit the truth: "Employees are our most disposable asset".

Banks see only assets and their NPV Net Present Value :
If a employee is the most valuable asset then the bank is FÜCKED.

crazzziecanuck's picture

Speaking of "serving":


"A spokesperson for Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the minister wasn't available for an interview, but sent a statement that says Morneau "expects all financial institutions in Canada to adhere to the highest standards when it comes to their consumer protection obligations."

Translation: Morneau is anxiously awaiting marching orders from the banks once the banks themselves figure out how to handle this sitution.  This is how Democrats, Labour and other traditional centre-right parties have acted over the last thirty years. My guess is a "do nothing and hope for the best" because they figure the odds are high this controversy will blow over.  I bet if you asked most Canadians, they probably realize these disclosures merely confirm what they already knew beforehand.  Honestly, was anyone surprised at the news of what Wells Fargo did (except upper management and the regulators)?

That is, a really badly kept secret that even government regulators had to bend and contort themselves into pretzels to avoid seeing what was actually going on.

Erek's picture

It all comes back to Orwell's "NewSpeak". Scary shit.

FatTony7915726's picture

David I. McKay is the CEO of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC).  He is a fucking prick who cares only about his executive compensation.  A bastard born of a jackel.  He does not care about RBC brnach staff and their objectives that are unattainable!  SOB is there to make big bucks at the detriment of branch employees. My wife is a Teller at RBC and they are really pushed and abused.

hedgeless_horseman's picture


My wife is a Teller at RBC and they are really pushed and abused.

Why doesn't she quit?

PT's picture

Most people don't quit their loser jobs because they are scared of starving to death.  Maybe he doesn't give her any money.




Note to those with loser jobs:  I can't tell you what to do, but it does feel good and you will ask yourself why you didn't do it sooner.  Sure, I haven't starved yet so that helps.  Spent a lot of time feeling very stressed but even on my worst days I do not regret leaving the tyrants behind.  As long as you work for a bad boss, you never find a good boss.  If you work your guts out for a bad boss then you are helping the good bosses go broke.  Think about it.  Don't let the good bosses down.  Seek them out and work your guts out for them.  Introduce the bad bosses to the concept of "high employee turn-over".

FatTony7915726's picture

PT you are so wrong in your comments that I will not even respond to your inhuman comments.  Come and live in the real world where people have obligations and must work.

theright555J's picture

Everyone (at least the vast majority) does have obligations and must work, but there's absolutely no obligation to work in any specific job or geographic locale, or for any particular boss.  The choice for whom you work is up to you.

Now a large pile of DEBT may change that, as you may possess a skillset with only limited outlets to get paid enough to service the debt.  Yet another reason why DEBT is an evil beast that is not easily tamed by the common man.

PT's picture

I do live in the real world.  I do know the stress of quitting a job and not knowing where the next one will come from.  That is why I was gentle in saying, "I CAN NOT TELL YOU WHAT TO DO ..."

I do have a lower debt profile than most, a sacrifice that I took and nothing for me to be ashamed of, but I also understand why others do not try to live as hard as I do.  I gave the advice to those willing to try it, knowing full well that there are no guarantees, and while I may scrape by today, tomorrow I may not be so lucky.  I can not blame those who CHOOSE to remain oppressed.  The alternative is the Abyss and the Abyss is a scary place.  But I will not tell others to remain where they suffer.  Staying put while they keep turning in the screws is no way to live.  If you wish to escape then sooner or later you have to open that door and run through the burning building.  Otherwise you stay put and get burnt alive any way.  Good luck to those who try to escape.  You'll need it.

PT's picture

1.  I started with a joke at your expense.  (She's scared of quitting her job ... maybe he doesn't give her any money).  You have every right to smack me for that one.
2.  Seriously?  Your wife can't quit?  Are YOU working?  Do you ever wonder what went wrong?  Sorry if that sounded harsh.  I'm not blaming you or your wife.  You're not the only ones.  Start here:
I don't know all the answers.  Here's hoping you find a better way.

HenryKissingerChurchill's picture

Most people don't quit their loser jobs because they are scared of starving to death. Note to those with loser jobs:  I can't tell you what to do, but...

... if you your employer is going down ANYWAY, and they are going to fire you ANYWAY, and your pension is being "invested" in SNAP stock ANYWAY...

why not have a mean crazy plan to leave with a bit of dignity and vengeance? ...

if you were only given a bit of MADNESS, then use your madness wisely!

FatTony7915726's picture

We need the income.  Branch staff are forced to upsell and they are followed by management.  There is a blackboard in the kitchen of the branch so that when employees go have lunch, they are reminded to "work harder" to reach the targets.  Even during a lunch break they must deal with the numbers.  While that bastard CEO of RBC, Mr. McKay has his executive lunches in the executive lounge of the headquarters of RBC in Toronto.  May he choke on his next meal!


You'd think branch staff are the frontline of the bank and that they'd be treated better.  Nope.  Tellers ans branch staff are some of the lowest paid employees that have had their hours cut and are forced to work on Saturdays.  Branch staff are held to a minimum and often employees can't cope with the traffic.

ATM's picture

McDonald's counter staff are asked to upsell as well. "Would you like large fries with that?"

What's the difference?

hedgeless_horseman's picture


We need the income.


Get her out of there, dude.

Life is too short to spend it in a bank.


PT's picture

hh:  I understand where you're coming from but I still haven't worked out how to get there.

(Plus I HATE gardening.)

Toxicosis's picture

And life is too short to spend it in debt.  I don't see your point here.  Life is too short to suffer for lack of funds and eat cat food under a bridge as well.  Your comments are usually so practical and well thought out, but not your last few on this thread.  There are also limited jobs available in Ontario that are full time and not just minimum wage.  Stresses are high in most every job.  Please stop blaming the victim here.  The problem as you well recognize is the system itself.  The bankers, the politicians, major corporations and the money and greed involved.  She wouldn't be under this stress if she owned the bank.  And what's the likelihood of that ever happening. 

Toronto Kid's picture

There is competition coming for the Bix Six:


The more the big banks pull scams, the more Canadians will switch.

HenryKissingerChurchill's picture

He is a fucking prick who cares only about his executive compensation and their objectives that are unattainable! 

Rockstar CEOs it's what's trendy now!



ATM's picture

No, no, no! You never 'regret your actions' in a misspeak. You 'regret that anyone may have misinterpreted your remark'.

That way the error was never your own and is always the fault of others.

DjangoCat's picture

And in Britain outright fraud became  "misselling".

barroter's picture

Then find Jesus and "spend more time with your family."


Silver Bug's picture

No surprise here, I run into "investment advisors" from institutional banks on a regular basis. These cracker jacks don't have a clue what they are talking about, have no facts to back up their "theories" and are clearly just spood fed BS information. The banking industry is a clown fiesta at best.



DownWithYogaPants's picture

And where is this country Candia?  

National sport Candia Crush?

GunnerySgtHartman's picture

"Come on in - the water's fine!" - banksters all over the planet

hedgeless_horseman's picture


"I want the world to know how much pressure we are all under on a daily basis," wrote an RBC teller in Ontario.

It isn't just bank tellers, it is retailers, too.

Q:  Would you like to save 10% on your purchase by appplying for our Home Depot credit card?

A:  Do I fucking look like I need a high-interest-rate loan in order to spend $28 on a hammer?

mainstream media is useless's picture

Yep. Every single time I have a human ring me out at home depot, they try and get me sign up for a credit card, and save $6.28 on today's purchase.  Must have secret shoppers to make sure the minions are doing as they are told.