Consumer group CHOICE welcomes the announcement by the Commonwealth Bank that it will no longer run the Dollarmites program in schools.
The Commonwealth Bank announcement occurred after the New South Wales Government banned bank-run marketing schemes in classrooms, joining Queensland, Victoria and the ACT in introducing rules to require financial literacy programs to be independent and effective.
"The reality is that Dollarmites was a very effective marketing program, signing up primary school aged-children to a life-long relationship with the Commonwealth Bank. When the corporate regulator, ASIC, reviewed programs like Dollarmites in 2020, it found no evidence of any positive impact on financial literacy. Instead, it found they used sophisticated marketing techniques to target vulnerable consumers," says CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland.
"CHOICE research found that the Dollarmites program was sticky. In 2017 we uncovered that 46% of people got their first account with Commonwealth Bank and a third of people still had this account as an adult."
"One of the most important lessons that children need to learn about banking is to shop around for the best deal. Letting the Commonwealth Bank sign up children as customers at a very young age is the very opposite of that."
"We're glad to see the NSW Government join other states and territories in banning Dollarmites and replacing it with a government-run financial literacy program focused on real world budgeting examples."
"With the end of Dollarmites, we can feel confident that students will get lessons in financial literacy instead of bank loyalty."
CHOICE awarded the Commonwealth Bank's Dollarmites a Shonky award in 2018 and a damning 2020 ASIC review of school banking programs found no evidence that bank run programs do anything to help savings behaviour in kids.
Media contact: Katelyn Cameron, 0430 172 669, firstname.lastname@example.org
Commonwealth Bank announcement: https://www.commbank.com.au/articles/newsroom/2021/10/CBA-moves-youth-education-online.html
CHOICE Shonky award for the Dollarmites program: https://www.choice.com.au/shonky-awards/hall-of-shame/shonkys-2018/commonwealth-bank-dollarmites