An Essential Research poll of more than 1,000 people indicates that most consumers are unaware that major banks own and control brands such as St George, Aussie and Bankwest.
However, according to the poll results, consumers are also demanding change, with eight out of 10 stating they want to see that information made more transparent.
Customer Owned Banking Association chief executive Mark Degotardi noted that the findings back the Murray Report recommendations, which call for more transparency surrounding “ownership and alignment” in the financial sector.
“The case for change is now overwhelming,” Mr Degotardi said. “Research shows that more than half of those surveyed are unsure who actually owns these sub-brands. Consumers are getting information that leads them to think they are banking with a local bank when they are not.”
Mr Degotardi said rules should be put in place to prevent big banks from “camouflaging” their true identity.
The research also revealed that 74 per cent said bank sub-brands are not clear enough about their ownership in their advertising and communications, despite 91 per cent stating clarity of information was their top priority when choosing a bank.
“Australians just want to know who they’re banking with; that’s not much to ask, and at the moment that’s unclear,” Mr Degotardi said.