Tuesday’s announcement that CBA has increased its ownership of Aussie Home Loans to 80% further illustrates the need for the government to move on ensuring greater transparency when it comes to multi-brand strategies being pursued by the major banks, says Bankmecu managing director, Damien Walsh.
Walsh says Aussie’s brand promise that it is “smart to ask” should now extend to customers asking who owns Aussie Home Loans.
“Last week we wrote to the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, calling on him to deliver on his promise to increase competition and choice in banking for Australian consumers. We’d like to see the government require banks to prominently disclose ownership of wholly owned subsidiary sub-brands in all advertising.”
He says consumers deserve greater disclosure of the facts, in order to enable them to make informed decisions about their banking.
“With the Commonwealth Bank set to take a majority stake in Aussie, now is the time to act in the interests of consumers. In fact, a survey of more than 1,000 Australians conducted by Bankmecu earlier in the year showed 74% would support requiring banks which are wholly owned by other banks to disclose their ownership in their advertising.”
Walsh says the government set a precedent for helping consumers make informed decisions when it required financial institutions to publish comparison interest rates alongside the offered rate on loans.
“This is another simple step it can take to deliver on its promise to ensure that there is greater competition in the Australian banking market.”