20 January 2017
Sydney, 20 January 2017: The Australian Bankers’ Association has welcomed today’s release of Mr Ian McPhee’s progress report which showed banks are delivering meaningful change in order to rebuild community trust.
Mr McPhee has recognised good progress has been made by the industry, but also acknowledged there are a range of complexities with the initiatives and multiple stakeholders involved. The completion of some reforms is dependent on third party and government input.
The report also provides examples of how banks have taken early steps to improve practices, in areas such as how they pay staff and handle customer complaints.
ABA Executive Director – Retail Policy Diane Tate said it was encouraging that Mr McPhee had recognised banks’ efforts to make banking better.
“The industry is working hard to deliver on our commitments in the reform package. We have allocated additional resources where needed in order to maintain momentum.
“During the past quarter, a number of milestones have been achieved. For example, the industry released new guiding principles for banks to ensure their whistleblower protections meet the highest standard,” she said.
“Banks are improving the way they handle complaints with the appointment of customer advocates. The industry will also continue to support a new and improved external dispute resolution system, to simplify the current process and make it available to more consumers and small businesses.”
Ms Tate said the industry looked forward to receiving the final report from the independent reviews into retail bank staff pay and incentives, and bank conduct standards in the Code of Banking Practice.
“The findings of these reviews will be an important impetus for change. But we are not sitting on our hands. Banks are working on how they can improve their commitments to customers, including small businesses, and promote ethical behaviour of staff.
“We are also continuing to work on the best way to measure the success of our reforms,” she said.
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“…banks can go back to their normal processes and that is working out what’s right for every single customer, on an individual tailored basis with a proper assessment. That is the best thing for the customer.”
Access to credit opens up opportunities and fulfills aspirations. Getting it right requires the right balance between consumer protections and the flow of credit.
Interviewed by AM’s Peter Ryan, ABA CEO Anna Bligh talked about the substantial drop in loan deferrals since their peak during the pandemic, falling from 900,000 to 300,000.