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Royal Commission

30 November 2017

Australia’s banks have welcomed the Prime Minister’s decision to take action and provide certainty to the Banking industry to the benefit of the national economy and all Australians. Banks will fully co-operate with the Royal Commission.

Australia has a strong and stable banking system that is critically important to the national economy. The wellbeing of our banking and financial system matters to every business and to every Australian.

Our banks do not fear scrutiny or accountability. They have actively participated in 51 substantial inquiries, reviews and investigations since the GFC and are ready to contribute to this Commission.

They have served the Australian economy and community well, particularly through the global financial crisis. Unlike other countries and other banking systems, Australia’s banks have underpinned financial stability.

Every day our banks provide funding for new homes, for new large and small businesses and for business expansion – all of which are vital to the national economy and the prosperity of all Australians.

All banks believe that a lengthy, $75m Royal Commission is unwarranted and fails to recognise that Australian banks are already changing, currently undergoing the largest reform program in decades. However, the continued political turmoil and uncertainty presented an unacceptable risk to the stability of our system, the reputation of our banks and the interests of our customers, employees and shareholders.

Australia’s banking and financial system is too important to leave in the hands of minor parties and fringe elements in the Parliament.

The possibility that terms of reference on something this important could be the subject of political horse trading should worry every Australian.

It’s a prospect that caused such concern to the leadership of Australia’s four major banks that their Chairs and CEOs took the extraordinary and unprecedented step of calling on the Government to hold a properly constituted inquiry.

The Major Banks acted in the national interest to minimise more serious risk to the banking sector and welcome the fact that the government has stepped in to bring certainty to this issue. Labor’s support for a Royal Commission is also acknowledged, as is that from other parties.

Bipartisan agreement on a properly constituted Inquiry, free from political interference, is the best way forward if we are to avoid further damage or harm to Australia’s financial services sector.

As banks prepare to meet the requirements of the Royal Commission, they will continue to work to ensure that they serve the best interests of customers, employees, shareholders and the needs of the Australian economy and community.

ENDS

Nathalie Samia 0410 348 531
Kelly Stevens 0497 577 133

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