COBA renews push for better competition

  • By AB+F Editorial

More than 30 CEOs and directors from the customer-owned banks arrived in Canberra on Wednesday to reinforce their case for better competition and ensure that the recommendations from the Royal Commission are implemented. 

The leaders of Australia’s customer owned banking institutions and the Customer Owned Banking Association - some pictured with Julie Owens, Labor member for Parramatta including Unity Bank's Danny Pvisic; Heritage Bank's Peter Lock; Police Bank's Tony Taylor and Teachers Mutual Bank's Corin Millais -  will urge MPs to adopt the principles of proportionate regulation and invest in more ways to boost competition in the retail banking market. 

“The message is clear, greater competition leads to greater customer outcomes. Government must keep competition front of mind if consumers are to receive a better outcome from their banking,” COBA CEO Michael Lawrence said. 

“Without robust competition consumers are the ones who lose out. If there isn’t fear that your customers will up and leave you, there is very little incentive for banks to do what is best for customers.” 

Lawrence said customer owned banking institutions aren’t asking to be regulated differently; but in proportion to the size, scale and complexity of their organisation.

“Using the one size fits all approach for all authorised deposit taking institutions with no consideration of the size or complexity of the organisation has serious consequences.

“The cost of compliance for a smaller institution may outweigh the benefits of the regulation, leading to stifled innovation and reduced investment in the community.”

While a more pro-competitive mindset is important, Lawrence added that customer owned banking institutions encourage government to do more to make it easier for consumers to switch banks.

“There is a role for Government to play to help make it easier for consumers to switch. Creating a task force of Treasury, ACCC, ASIC, industry and consumer groups to investigate the barriers to switching is a good start.”