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TD CEO downplays sales tactics issue, says problem not widespread

Toronto-Dominion Bank CEO Bharat Masrani downplayed a CBC News Go Public report about a number of TD bank employees allegedly using deceptive sales techniques to hit quotas.

The CEO acknowledged, however, that the company received "a few hundred complaints" about sales practices.

According to a transcript of the company's March 30 annual shareholders meeting, Masrani tried to put the number of complaints into perspective, stating that they were "out of approximately 13 million Canadian personal banking customers and more than 100 million interactions through tens of thousands of TD bankers."

Masrani said that fewer than a 100 compliance concerns warranted investigation. He assured shareholders that a professional services firm was helping the company assess its sales practices.

He also said that unethical sales practices at the bank were not a widespread problem.

"While we have sales goals to help manage our business," he said, "people behaving unethically in order to achieve these goals would be inconsistent with who we are as an institution. And I don't believe we have a widespread problem of that type of behavior."

In early March, CBC News' Go Public reported that three unnamed employees of the company claimed the bank was pressuring tellers to reach "unrealistic" sales targets. They also claimed that some tellers signed up customers for services they did not need. The news outlet had hidden camera footage that showed a teller offering to activate services without mentioning a fee. Other footage showed a teller offering a higher-fee account without mentioning the cheaper option.

A later report by the same news outlet said that even more current and former bank employees confirmed the bank's attitude toward sales goals. Some even claimed that pressure to hit quotas prompted them to break laws at times.