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COBA has made several recommendations to the Senate inquiry into co-operative, mutual and member-owned firms to better accommodate the customer-owned model in regards to regulatory capital, tax and empowering customers.
Mark Degotardi, chief executive of COBA, said its model delivers ethical, trustworthy and competitively priced financial products with excellent customer service.
“Yet our model doesn’t enjoy competitive neutrality, and the regulatory framework doesn’t make it easy for consumers to make an informed choice about different providers in banking and financial services,” he said.
“Regulators such as ASIC and APRA now say they are targeting the ‘culture’ of listed banks, but they should also be promoting the alternative customer-owned model that always puts the consumer first.”
Mr Degotardi said the need for the customer-owned model is as strong as it has ever been, with successive scandals denting consumer trust in many listed banks.
“Rather than just forcing leopards to change their spots, policymakers and regulators should be raising community awareness that not all banking institutions are predators,” he said.