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Consumers banking on reform

Consumers deposit 1318 reasons to reform the banking sector

26 April 2017

CHOICE has presented over 1,300 individual submissions to the Senate hearing into the banking sector, which detail widespread discontent with high fees and poor service.

"From being charged excessively high fees to being slugged with ridiculously high credit card interest rates, many Australians feel they’re being treated poorly by the banks,"[1]  says CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland.  

CHOICE invited individual consumers to share their experiences with the Inquiry into Consumer Protection in the Banking, Insurance and Financial Sector. Of the 1318 submissions clear and consistent concerns were raised.

  • 37% raised issues with high fees
  • 29% thought banks treated customers poorly
  • 24% raised issues with high interest on credit cards
  • 23% think that the banks make excessive profits
  • 14% had concerns with low interest they were earning on savings
  • 11% called for better regulations or laws[2] 

"We wanted senators to hear first-hand from the people struggling to get a fair go from a banking sector that has lost touch with its customer base," Mr Kirkland says.

"The stories are all too real and all too concerning for an industry that continues to pay lip service to customer service.

"The issues raised in the submissions talk to the poor culture in the banking sector from being slugged interest on a late payment fee and being hit with a $12 penalty for missing a $9 direct debit.[3]  

"It’s little wonder high fees top the list of banking complaints, with 37% of people raising the issue."

"Shoddy customer service was the second major gripe with 29% of consumers saying they felt the banks treated them badly."

CHOICE presented the submissions before the Inquiry into Consumer Protection in the Banking, Insurance and Financial Sector in Sydney today and renewed its call for reform.

"We urgently need sweeping reforms to the industry, and we believe the government should intervene to introduce real competition in the sector," says Mr Kirkland.

"It's clear major cultural change is also needed in a banking sector that has put customer care last for far too long.

"Right now older and more established banks are getting away with high prices and poor service."

Background
Over February and March, CHOICE encouraged consumers to make submissions to the Senate Economics Committee on banking issues they had experienced. 1318 consumers made a submission: 771 were public and 541 chose to keep comments confidential. 11% called for better regulations or laws.

To read CHOICE’s submissions to the inquiry go to choice.com.au/policy 

Media contact: Tom Godfrey, CHOICE, Head of Media and Spokesperson: 0430 172 669

About CHOICE
Set up by consumers for consumers, CHOICE is the consumer advocate that provides Australians with information and advice, free from commercial bias. As vital today as when we were founded in 1959, CHOICE continues to fight for consumers and uncover the truth. By mobilising Australia’s largest and loudest consumer movement, CHOICE fights to hold industry and government accountable and achieve real change on the issues that matter most.

[1] CHOICE, Consumer protection in the banking, insurance and financial sector Submission 59

[2] ibid

[3] ibid