2 May 2017
Sydney, 2 May 2017: The Australian Bankers’ Association has today published an annual report outlining the industry’s progress to improve customer outcomes, strengthen culture and build trust in banking.
“If banks are to build trust, it’s not enough to say they’re changing; there must be real change and evidence for people to believe it,” ABA Chief Executive Anna Bligh said.
“Significant progress has been made on delivering the initiatives announced one year ago in the Banking Reform Program. The initiatives are a fundamental change in the way banks do their business.
“Twenty banks now have customer advocates to help get fairer outcomes for their customers. The major banks and several other banks have strengthened their whistleblower protections to ensure they have the highest standard. These changes are well ahead of our implementation date of 30 June 2017.
“Two significant independent reviews have been completed into the way banks reward their retail bank staff and on the Code of Banking Practice. These reviews have made 120 recommendations about improvements to banking practices and standards,” she said.
“In response to these reviews, the industry is now in the process of redrafting the Code as well as removing the direct link between sales targets and payments, such as a performance bonus for their staff.”
Ms Bligh said banks recognised customers and the community want change now.
“The industry is examining ways to accelerate the implementation of the recommendations made by the independent reviews, while continuing to work with stakeholders on more complex issues.
“The ABA is working with the Federal Government on improving external dispute resolution so more people can get help without needing to go to court, and on establishing a compensation scheme for people who have received poor financial advice.”
Ms Bligh said this was the first time Australia’s banks had come together in such a substantive way to find common ways to respond to the concerns of customers.
“It’s only once customers can see, feel and touch the changes that are being made, that banks can start to recover the trust they have lost,” Ms Bligh said.
More information on the Banking Reform Program and next steps is available in the attached report.
ENDSContact: Stephanie Arena 0477 470 677 or Nic Frankham 0435 963 913
“Australian banks are certainly better equipped now than they were in the GFC. They’ve got 2 to 2.5 times the capital reserves put aside for a rainy day than they had in the GFC”
“The Australian Banking Association (ABA) welcomes the agreement reached today on the proposed safeguard mechanism reforms, given it paves the way for the passing of a critical piece of legislation for Australia.
“This is about engaging with the entire banking ecosystem in order to ensure the accessibility of the sector’s services are best serving our diverse community now, and into the future.”