FBAA calls for increased banking transparency

by Phil McCarroll07 Oct 2016
As the heads of Australia’s major banks are questioned on their business practices by federal politicians, the Finance Brokers Association of Australia (FBAA) believes the industry needs increased transparency.

The FBAA, along with a group of business leaders, recently met with Treasurer Scott Morrison to discuss a number of issues, with transparency and accountability key topics of conversation.

FBAA spokesperson Peter White acknowledged the government has made some efforts to improve outcomes for consumers, however he believes they still have some way to go.

“I asked that given truth comes through transparency, how can we ensure greater transparency from banks to ensure borrowers are more educated, in order for them to make more informed decisions?” White said.

“Treasury is talking about better outcomes for credit card holders, and the current review is forcing the banks to acknowledge their failings, yet they are still not being open about issues like interest rate margins, credit card rates, and the bank bill swap rate,” he said.

In particular, White said he pressed Morrison on why a requirement previously agreed to where a lender’s mortgage insurance disclosure has to be included in the key fact sheet on all mortgage documents has not been adopted.

According to White, Morrison said the government wouldn’t be telling the sector how to operate, though they are committed to holding the banks accountable for their actions and requiring them to explain their decisions and provide more information to consumers.

Morrison announced legislation changes this week that now mean manipulation of financial benchmarks, such as the Bank Bill Swap Rate, is now a criminal offence and that administrators of benchmarks will be required hold a new ‘benchmark administration’ licence issued by the Australian Securities & Investment Commission.

“The FBAA would like to see more accountability. We accept that something is being done and will continue our dialogue with key people within government,” White said.