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"Commonwealth Bank doesn't care about education": CHOICE

Dollarmites and school banking: New ASIC research shows little evidence programs work.

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A year after CHOICE awarded Commonwealth Bank's Dollarmites school banking program a SHONKY award, banking regulator ASIC has released new research questioning the effectiveness of school banking programs like Dollarmites.

"Commonwealth Bank doesn't care about education," says CHOICE consumer advocate Jonathan Brown.

"Commonwealth Bank's Dollarmites program is a thinly veiled marketing program to turn our kids into customers for life. ASIC's new research shows that these bank marketing programs have little evidence they work - if Commonwealth Bank really cared about education we would have a whole generation of Australians feeling secure and financially sound. Instead we've got some of the highest household debt in the world."

With some parents now pulling their schools out of commercial programs like Dollarmites, ASIC is asking for public feedback, and CHOICE is encouraging parents to make their voices heard.

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CHOICE consumer advocate Jonathan Brown

"We've heard from parents across the country who are fed up with their children being targeted as future customers," says Brown.

"Commonwealth Bank are relying on nostalgia and memories of toys and cartoon characters to avoid scrutiny. It's vital that every Australian parent who is worried about corporations in our schools speaks up. Our kids need us to speak up."

Concerned parents can join CHOICE's call to ditch Dollarmites at: choice.com.au/dollarmites

Media contact: Jonathan Brown, 0430 172 669, media@choice.com.au

High res photos and video available at Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/n06pa7k703e0mqx/AAAUq0SjGCItaSO8SdDvdnoVa?dl=0 

Editor's notes:
- ASIC's research released today has found little evidence that school banking schemes like Dollarmites help kids' long-term saving habits.

- 46% of people in Australia open their first account with the Commonwealth Bank and 34% of people still have their first bank account. (1)

- Dollarmites is estimated to be worth $9.9 billion to the bank. (2)

Quotes from CHOICE supporters:

"Children in schools are there to be educated, not sitting ducks for marketers, including banks." Alice, NSW

"It is a ploy to get children as customers so they are customers for life." Alicia, VIC

"I don't feel any banks or corporations should have influence within the education system." John, VIC

"No need for banks to invade schools, it is not in the kid's best interest." Ken, VIC

(1) CHOICE Consumer Pulse Survey 2017. The survey was conducted between 15-24 September 2017 with 1029 Australians aged 18+ from a permission-based panel (The ORU). A nationally representative sample was drawn based on population data sourced from ABS Census 2016, and the final sample was weighed by age group, gender and location.

(2) https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/banking/time-to-regulate-banks-out-of-schools-dollarmites-is-worth-10-billion-to-commbank-analyst-says/news-story/cc2d305177bc6047fad72437d6adf9a3