Bankers in Denmark See Sharp Rise in Threats From Angry Clients

The financial employees union in Denmark says there’s been a worrying increase in the level of harassment experienced by its members.

According to the union, staff at Danish banks have reported a significant rise in verbal abuse. The harassment has in some cases taken the form of outright threats, said Michael Budolfsen, vice president of the Financial Services union.

Denmark’s finance industry is struggling to regain the public’s trust after a string of scandals. Danske Bank A/S, the biggest Danish lender, is still being investigated for its role in Europe’s worst ever money laundering case. It’s also one of a number of Danish banks to acknowledge that system failures resulted in thousands of customers paying back more debt than they owed.

Budolfsen says it’s often the banks’ front-line workers who bear the brunt of customer dissatisfaction when news of such errors reaches the public.

One staff member was told by an angry client that they knew where the bank employee’s “daughter goes to kindergarten,” while another had a rock thrown through her bedroom window, according to Budolfsen.

Face Masks

Budolfsen says some customers appear to feel emboldened by the anonymity afforded them by wearing face masks, which has become a requirement during the pandemic.

“Having the possibility of masking yourself does something to some people,” he said. “That raises the question of, are you allowed as a business to say, OK, when you enter here, you have to de-mask yourself?”

Budolfsen says part of the problem is the critical language lawmakers and ministers often use when referring to banks. He says he would “really wish for a more balanced communication from the politicians.”

“It’s actually a sector that’s quite well run,” he said.

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