COBA celebrates a win for competition

by Madison Utley23 Sep 2020

The Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA) has welcomed recent action taken by APRA and the ACCC, interpreting it as the regulators' acknowledgement of the importance of competition to a healthy financial system.

Earlier this month, an updated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between APRA and the ACCC was released to the public, in a bid to foster closer collaboration between the two bodies – a good sign both are committed to building their relationship at “a time when competition is crucial to economic recovery”, COBA CEO Michael Lawrence has said.

“It is encouraging to see both regulators reinforce the importance of competition to a healthy financial system,” he added.  

“A competitive banking market is key to delivering the best outcomes for customers as we work through the largest economic downturn in living memory.”

According to Lawrence, customer owned banking institutions possess all that is necessary to apply competitive pressure on the major banks, especially with their now boasting the highest customer satisfaction levels in the market.

COBA has long been vocal in its campaign for the preservation and promotion of competition within the industry, calling for governmental intervention, organising in-person appeals to regulators and refusing to be placated by what the group perceives to be short-term or insufficient solutions.   

“Government and regulators must take a balanced approached to new regulation in this economic environment, ensuring competition remains strong,” Lawrence said.

“Smaller banking institutions are disproportionately impacted by regulation, with the relatively higher cost of compliance diverting resources away from customers.

“Our members are supporting over 4.5 million customers through this crisis, and it’s important they can continue to deliver full capacity to this priority.”