The Greens Treasury spokesperson Adam Bandt and Finance spokesperson Senator Peter Whish-Wilson today said that the big banks are the big winners from the government’s response to the Financial System Inquiry. The Greens said they will seek to ensure any measures to limit credit card fees also apply to ATM fees and called for stronger action to prevent future financial advice scandals.
“The big banks seem to be the winners from the government’s response to the Financial Systems Inquiry,” Mr Bandt said.
“The government has finally listened to the Greens and others and is taking action on credit card surcharges. But what the government is doing for credit card surcharges, they need to do with ATM fees.”
“When you go to the bank to access your own money, the banks can gouge you with fees of $2 or more when it only costs them about 77 cents for an ATM transaction.”
“Banks are making up to $600 million a year from ATM fees and much of that is going straight to their bottom line.”
“If credit card operators are now not allowed to make a profit off the cost of using a card, neither should banks.”
“People shouldn’t pay for the privilege of accessing their own money.”
“If the government brings legislation to Parliament to amend credit card fees, the Greens will see if we can extend that to ATM fees as well. The cost of ATM fees should be limited to the actual cost of the transaction.”
Mr Bandt on the Bank Deposit Levy:
“The big four banks make world-leading record profits off the back of implicit public support.”
“The big banks are able to borrow money more cheaply than their smaller competitors.”
“This gives them an advantage and means that if they get into trouble, the public is expected to step in and bail them out.”
“The government had a chance to stand up to the big banks and make them pay for some of the implicit support that the public gives them and to put them on a level playing field with their smaller competitors. Instead the government has again let them off the hook.”
Mr Bandt on superannuation:
“When it gets to the point that the cost for superannuation tax concessions is set to exceed the cost of the aged pension, it’s right that we have a discussion about the purpose of superannuation.”
“The Greens will consider any changes to superannuation based on evidence. Unfortunately, it seems the government is set to ignore evidence and instead continue with its ideological attacks.”
Senator Whish-Wilson on financial advice and the response more broadly:
“The government response to the Murray Report has provided scant detail regarding solutions to the depth and breadth of the systemic failures demonstrated in the recent financial advice scandals.”
“In particular, it is unclear how and when the critical issue of tackling the conflicts of interest inherent within the big banks’ vertically integrated business models, and the risks this poses to consumers of financial services, will be addressed.”
“Frustratingly we don’t need more reviews to tell us our regulator, ASIC, is woefully resourced, needs a new business funding model and urgently needs new powers and penalties to combat white collar crime.”
“Inquiry after inquiry has already recommended this. It is time to get on with legislation.”
“The Greens believe a Royal Commission with full investigative powers and resources is still needed to reveal the true extent of white collar crime in our country, and this response today should not be used to justify letting any crooks off the hook,” he concluded.
Adam Bandt – Adam Pulford, 0429 109 054
Senator Whish-Wilson – Tim Beshara, 0409 164 603