21 November 2017
Renewed calls for a Royal Commission into Australia’s banks fail to recognise that they are now undergoing the greatest program of reforms seen in decades.
The Australian Bankers’ Association CEO, Anna Bligh, said banks don’t fear scrutiny or accountability.
“Since the GFC they have faced, and co-operated with, 37 reviews, investigations and inquiries,” Ms Bligh said.
“Australian banks are serious about change and rebuilding trust and confidence within the community, and are currently undergoing major reform including;
• New ways of paying bank staff, including separating bonuses from sales targets.
• The introduction of stronger whistle blower protections.
• The introduction of real time banking and open data.
• A new executive accountability regime.
• The introduction of Customer Advocates to assist with customer complaints.
• New product intervention powers given to ASIC.
• A new Banking Code of Practice, which will be enforceable and clearly spell out high standards of conduct. The new Code is due to be sent to ASIC for approval by the end of the year.
Australia already has one of the most highly regulated finance sectors in the world.
Yet another inquiry will do nothing to generate confidence in our banking system.
Australian banks source 40 per cent of their funds on overseas and domestic markets.
A Royal Commission, which will cost taxpayers at least $53 million, could affect international confidence in Australian banks, and the price and availability of funding in international markets.
“Banks remain under intense scrutiny with more than 10 reviews and inquiries under way,” she said. “A weakened Australian banking system would be bad news for Australian customers.
“Populism may be easy politics in the short term, but it could spell long-term problems for everyday Australians.”
Kelly Stevens 0497 577 133
Nathalie Samia 0410 348 531
“Since the Banking Code was first introduced in 1993, the process to independently review the Code has continued to deliver improvements.”
“A number of our banks actually have maternity leave lending products that are specific to people on parental leave, paid and unpaid, to help them through, what as I said, can be a difficult time.”