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Sharp drop in support for bank royal commission

14 October 2016

Sydney, 14 October 2016: A new national poll by Galaxy Research shows a sharp drop in public support for a royal commission into the banking sector.

The latest Galaxy poll conducted between October 6-9 shows that two thirds of Australians don’t support a royal commission into banks when they understand what a royal commission involves.

Just over a third of Australians support a royal commission into the banking and financial services sector, which is markedly lower than a poll conducted by Research Now and published last week, which was claimed to indicate two thirds of voters wanted a royal commission into banks. However, that figure was inflated by the fact the question asked of respondents was whether they “would support a royal commission, or similar independent inquiry….”. 

Steven Münchenberg, Chief Executive of the Australian Bankers’ Association, said: “The open-ended nature of that question meant most respondents agreed with some form of investigation into banks, but it was impossible to assess real levels of support for a royal commission. 

“In fact, the latest poll shows that a quarter, or 25 per cent, are actively opposed to a royal commission and people who neither support nor oppose a royal commission constitute the majority of those polled, at around 40 per cent of the sample. 

“People don’t believe a royal commission is the right way to go when they understand that it can’t impose fines on banks or force banks to pay compensation, and it can’t change laws or do anything other than make recommendations which the Government of the day is not bound to implement. 

“Of those who believe banks need to improve the way they operate, the majority want action now, not in two to three years’ time via a royal commission. Action now is what the industry is providing across a wide front of reforms and initiatives,” Mr Münchenberg said. 

The latest Galaxy poll reflects similar findings in other recent polls. A Galaxy poll in September showed a marked improvement in consumer sentiment towards banks on seven out of eight key indicators with 25 per cent more Australians claiming to be clearly positive towards banks compared to those who were clearly negative. 

A snap poll of 1000 Australians conducted by I-Link Research in early October showed that a royal commission finished tenth out of a list of 10 issues Australians believe the Government should be doing something about, well behind rankings for issues like terrorism and national security, job security and unemployment, crime, housing, immigration, roads, public transport and climate change. 

“Australia’s banks have heard the community wants change and we are taking action now. The industry is implementing extensive reforms to build trust and confidence in banks, including giving customers a greater voice when things go wrong,” Mr Münchenberg said.

The latest Galaxy research is available here.

ENDS

Contact: Stephanie Arena 0477 470 677 or Nic Frankham 0435 963 913

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