The days are numbered for Dollarmites, according to consumer group CHOICE, after the Queensland Government today announced plans to ban bank marketing schemes.
"It's time to get Dollarmites out of all schools across Australia. Dollarmites is a corporate marketing exercise disguised as financial education," says CHOICE Banking Expert Patrick Veyret.
"It's only a matter of time before the other states and territories act on this marketing program targeted at Australian kids. Commonwealth Bank has had a free ride in our schools for over 90 years, signing up customers for life and all the debt that comes with it. Commonwealth Bank should cut their losses, dump the Dollarmites and donate to independent financial education programs instead."
The news comes following Victoria and the ACT earlier announcing plans to ban school banking.
"The Queensland Government have done the right thing by Queensland kids. We welcome the decision by QLD Education Minister Grace Grace," says Mr Veyret.
"There's no place for multi-billion dollar financial corporations, especially those with a rap sheet as long as Commonwealth Bank, in our schools. It's heartening to see Victoria, the ACT and now Queensland act on banning predatory school bank marketing. It's time for Dollarmites to call it a day and the rest of the country to act."
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 the programs do anything to change savings behaviour in kids.
CHOICE is now calling on New South Wales, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory to kick bank marketing out of their schools.
Media contact: Katelyn Cameron, 0430 172 669, firstname.lastname@example.org
Images and videos available here: https://sites.google.com/choice.com.au/dollarmites/home
Quotes attributable to Patrick Veyret, CHOICE Banking Expert:
"In NSW, even lender IMB dumped their school program, recognising after ASIC's report that school banking isn't sustainable anymore. Education Minister Sarah Mitchell needs to kick bank marketing out of New South Wales schools and has an opportunity to support children with high-quality and independent financial literacy programs."
"West Australian kids deserve better than banks using their schools to sign them up for a life of debt. Sue Ellery and the West Australian Government should follow the other states and ban school banking programs."
"In 2018, media investigations uncovered the opaque nature of school banking in South Australian schools. The South Australian Education Department was not measuring the influence Commonwealth Bank, Dollarmites and other predatory bank marketing programs were having in schools. As the Education Minister John Gardner has the ability to end these predatory programs right now."
"Right now, Tasmania is suffering through some of the worst mortgage stress in the country. 20, 30 years from now, when the next big financial shock comes, we need kids with strong financial literacy and savings habits. Under school banking programs like Commonwealth Bank's Dollarmites, kids just get upsold. Jeremy Rockliff should support the future generation of Tasmanians by investing in proper financial education and booting the banks out of Tasmanian schools."
"The Northern Territory has one of the most diverse communities in the country. Diverse communities need quality education, tailored for those diverse communities, not slick marketing programs signing up customers for life. Financial literacy is so important for the future of young Territorians and Lauren Moss has the opportunity to kick the banks out and make sure financial literacy isn't weaponised by corporations for marketing."