4 October 2018
Consumer advocates are calling for the Commonwealth Bank to stop using
schools to market banking products to children after CHOICE awarded the
bank a Shonky award for the dodgy Dollarmites program.
CHOICE, Consumer Action, Financial Counselling Australia and Financial
Rights Legal Centre are calling on the bank's CEO Matt Comyn to remove
bank-branded marketing from schools.
The Dollarmites program works by offering commissions to primary schools in
exchange for running the school banking scheme. The commissions include a
one-off payment of $200 when the first student makes their initial deposit,
annual rewards of up to $600 a year and ongoing payments of $5 for every 10
deposits per student.
Quotes attributable to Karen Cox - Coordinator, Financial Rights Legal
"We need to ask, what lessons does the Commonwealth Bank have to teach our
children? Based on what we've seen from the royal commission into financial
services, the major banks know very little about treating customers fairly.
The Commonwealth Bank charged more fees for no service than any other major
bank. Like their competitors, they also sold insurance to people that were
unable to use it, charged dead clients fees and kept customers in high-fee
superannuation products, eroding their retirement savings."
Quotes attributable to Gerard Brody - CEO, Consumer Action
"Over the last year we have seen repeated scandals that show banks take
advantage of loyal customers."
"We can no longer trust banks to teach children about the financial system,
instead we need to be teaching children to avoid the high costs and bad
practices we keep seeing from the big banks."
Quotes attributable to Fiona Guthrie - CEO, Financial Counselling
"Schools need assistance to deliver independent financial literacy programs
that help young people to explore and assess the different options in the
"If the Commonwealth Bank wanted to make a positive contribution to
financial literacy they could sponsor genuinely brand-free education
Quotes attributable to Alan Kirkland - CEO, CHOICE
"The Dollarmites program uses slick marketing to target primary kids at
school, turning them into long-term customers of a bad-value bank. Once you
factor in recent revelations that Commonwealth Bank staff fraudulently
activated Dollarmite accounts for personal gain, awarding them a Shonky
was an easy decision."
"CHOICE has found that 35% of Australian adults still have their first bank
account and this brand attachment often means they take out credit cards,
home loans or other products with the same bank.3 46% of people got their
first account with the Commonwealth Bank, a strong testament to the power
of school banking programs."
Media contact: Jonathan Brown 0430 172 669