Economic reform must help banks support growth: ABA

The chief economist of the Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA) says the burden of government regulation and tax should be kept as low as possible to ensure banks continue to play their part in Australia’s economic growth.

Tony Pearson said a key objective of the federal government’s response to the Financial System Inquiry must be to guarantee that Australia’s banking system continues to serve the nation as well in the future as it has in the past.

“The historical performance of the Australian economy is one of the world’s great success stories,” he said.

“However, we are facing challenges now as the economy transitions away from the mining and resources boom and global economic growth remains fragile.

“With the right policy settings, the banking industry believes that Australia can respond to our economic challenges and opportunities and we will play our part in achieving this.”

Mr Pearson’s comments coincide with the ABA’s release of its report on Australia’s banks: an integral part of the economy and the community, which revealed that banks paid more than $110 billion to savers, investors and governments through interest on deposits ($75 billion), dividends ($23 billion) and taxes ($14 billion) in 2014.

The report also showed that banks paid $13.7 billion in taxes to governments in 2014 – more than any other industry.

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