During the worldwide GFC, the public stood by the banks in their time of need and financial markets are now fortunately more stable. The collapse of the financial system would have benefited no one and that’s why the public gave the green light to any action deemed necessary to stabilise a shaky sector. While Australia didn’t suffer like Europe and America, takeovers and mergers were allowed that have left a legacy of less competition and a worse deal for consumers. That’s why I've been keen for CHOICE to run a campaign to redress the balance. Today we launched that campaign against a backdrop of rising bank profits, interest rates and public anger.
We know from our regular customer satisfaction surveys that people are fed up with the banks’ lack of competition and customer focus. Perhaps most damning of all is that while consumers are dissatisfied with their bank, they assume all banks are the same. It seems the crisis in banking has moved from the global to the local level, with consumers lacking confidence in the ability and willingness of banks to compete with each other.
Our Better Banking Campaign is arguing for better services, fairer products and decent practices. I’ll be hitting the road in a couple of weeks to hold town hall style meetings around the country to collect consumers’ views about what they’d like to see from their banks. I'd really interested in your views on this and if you want to come to one of our meetings, sign up to receive updates on the campaign and upcoming events.
Of course, this is a serious subject, but humour can sometimes help to make a point and add momentum to a point well made, which is why we have also teamed up with the campaigning group GetUp! to produce a couple of videos. Take a look and tell me what you think.
GetUp! Video 1
GetUp! Video 2
Our message to each of the banks is that business as usual is not an option. Consumers must start to benefit from a post-GFC world and increasing competition in banking is the start of that. Banks that join us will be more in control of the change that now seems inevitable. If banks don’t work with us, we will be campaigning hard for much-needed improvements to be imposed on them. If you want to help us do that, be sure to sign up to our campaign.