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Banks escape inquiry with superficial scratches

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During the recent banking inquiry, Australia was treated to a peek inside the often unscrupulous world of the big banks.

Huge profit margins, excessive fees and executive salaries soaring into the millions were just the beginning - the inquiry also trotted out a litany of fake documents, million-dollar "errors" and exploitative financial advice.

Despite the fanfare, to some it seemed the inquiry was mostly a superficial measure - a "PR victory" - and landed no major blows on the banks.

royal commission

In fact, we learnt very little that we didn't know before.

After all, is it news to anyone that the big banks are looking after themselves first?

Even so, several ideas came out of the inquiry - the most significant was the formation of an independent banking tribunal, which would allow customers to take complaints to a neutral moderator.

The second reform would be to make banking products "portable", like a mobile phone number, making the process of switching banks as hassle-free as possible.

The third reform is aimed directly at addressing the issue that prompted the inquiry in the first place: the big banks' habit of passing Reserve Bank rate increases onto customers immediately but dragging their feet on rate cuts.

This reform would encourage banks to provide "tracking" variable rate mortgages, which would move in line with the Reserve Bank.

But these mortgages have been unsuccessful in the past, and bank executives weren't keen on their viability for the future.

The question now is if any of this will prompt real change, or whether a banking royal commission is next on the agenda.

A royal commission could drag on for years and cost hundreds of millions of dollars but if these problems are systemic - and evidence suggests they are - then the Labor Party, along with many Aussies and the experts at Mozo, think it may be a necessary step to protect consumers.

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Comments
Suzi Burge
November 22, 2016 2.24pm

On the 21st November (yesterday) we held a rally on the lawns of Parliament House, to highlight the absolute wrongdoing of the Banking Industry!

We held a dinner on the Sunday night where I sat and listened to what these people have been through and tried to comprehend the amount of lives that have been taken as a result of Bank Misconduct. Let's just say... It was heartbreaking.

I too am a Bank Victim at the hands of the Conmonwealth Bank of Australia. My matter is right up there with some of the worst! The Justice System is a shocker, people can't afford the legal system and are left penniless, broken and it is destroying families!

We need to start prosecuting those that do wrong. I have lodged police complaints. They have seen my documents and yet it seems all to hard for them. I asked the question if I did these things would I be prosecuted. They responded YES!

What is happening here?

People have been thrown off their lands and yet they have not defaulted!

It's a bloody national disgrace! Please let's clean it up now!

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