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Banking Royal Commission report a small step towards the reform we deserve

Media Release
Richard Di Natale 4 Feb 2019

Today’s disappointing final report into the banking and financial services industry will slow, but not end decades of money grabbing and unethical conduct, the Australian Greens have said today.

“The enthusiasm from the Liberal and Labor parties to accept these recommendations tells you all you need to know. The financial services industry is one of the biggest donors to both old parties, and they will all be laughing all the way to the bank tonight,” Leader of the Australian Greens Senator Richard Di Natale said.

“Accepting all of these recommendations will go some way towards improving the system, but the system needs more than a tweak, it needs a complete shakeup.

“People have not only suffered from unethical conduct, they have been hurt as a result of limited competition and protected by a toothless watchdog. Under these recommendations people will continue to be locked into that rotten structure, and bankers will only be forced to rein in their profit forecasts.”

“This Royal Commission has shone a welcome ray of light on the practices of the banks, and there is undoubted political momentum for reform – but we cannot consider the job to be done,” Greens Banking spokesperson Peter Whish-Wilson said.

“The Greens would like to have seen more focus on structural reform, rather than just conduct reform. The Commission’s failure to resolve the issue of vertical and horizontal integration is a notable example of an inquiry that has been constrained.

“Sadly the Commissioner’s brief was limited from the outset, as was his time to consider detailed policy issues.

“The historical significance of today’s report depends on what unfolds from here. Will long suffering victims of financial misconduct now be appropriately compensated? Will the regulators take up Justice Haynes challenge and pursue criminal charges against the banks? 

“The Greens will be watching closely and won’t be taking a backward step in holding the next government to account, and leading on the push for reform and policies that transform our economy”. 

The Greens welcome the thrust of the recommendations, and are particularly pleased to see some of the Greens’ recommendations adopted, including:

  • Ending bank commissions for mortgage brokers
  • Ending grandfathered commissions that involve conflicted remuneration
  • Expanding the scope of the executive accountability regime to all APRA regulated institutions
  • Establishing a ‘regulator’s regulator’ to ensure they are doing their job properly
  • Establishing a last resort compensation scheme

However, the Greens proposal to fix Australia’s banking sector would:

  • Establish a people’s bank that offers basic products at a competitive rate, putting people before profit
  • Break up the banks, by separating retail banking, investment banking and wealth management arms
  • Cap the obscene pay packages that banking executives receive
  • Replace a weak and compromised ASIC with the ACCC to fight for the rights of banking customers
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