Industry Body Calls For Australian Banking Sector Imbalances To Be Addressed

Abacus, the industry body representing the Australian mutual sector, including mutual building societies and credit unions, on Monday launched a national campaign aimed at addressing the imbalances in the domestic banking sector.

The Balance Banking campaign will lobby for a change through a national debate and an independent review of the nation’s banking system aiming to deliver a better banking deal for Australians.

The body cited research that reveals competition is a major issue with Australian consumers as 65% of the 1,000 Australians polled think that there is not enough competition among local banks.

The survey also showed that nearly 80% of respondents believe that the banking majors are making “excessive” profits and 71% think that the big four banks have an unfair advantage in the mortgage market.

With its national campaign, the industry organisation aims to bring more competition to the market where credit unions, mutual banks and building societies serve 4.5 million customers, or a fifth of the country’s population, by providing a level playing field for smaller players, more choice and a better service to customers.

The Balance Banking campaign seeks to address a number of specific policy areas, including the recognition of the mutual model and examination of tax incentives and funding options, as well as to expand the debate and intensify the competitive pressure on the highly-concentrated banking sector, Abacus CEO Louise Petschler told Australian Broker.