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Non-majors to face parliamentary grilling

Australia’s non-major lenders will front a parliamentary committee later this year to face questioning over their implementation of the banking royal commission’s recommendations.

Liberal MP and chair of the House of Representatives standing committee on economics Tim Wilson has revealed that Macquarie Bank, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, the Bank of Queensland, Suncorp, Citi, and the Australian Banking Association (ABA) have been called to face questioning at a public hearing in Canberra on 29 November 2019.

“This will be the first-time small banks appear before our inquiry, whereas the big four appeared throughout the whole of the last Parliament,” he said.

According to Mr Wilson, the public hearing, which he said is designed to “publicly scrutinise and hold Australia’s banking sector to account”, will examine the non-major banks’ progress in implementing the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.

“Given widespread misconduct in banking and financial services identified by the Hayne royal commission, it is important that the smaller banks and the Australian Banking Association are held accountable to ensure that they are making the crucial improvements needed to restore trust in the sector,” Mr Wilson added.

The announcement followed the launch of a new inquiry into the mortgage pricing behaviour of the Australia’s lenders.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has been commissioned to examine:

  • the differences between advertised rates and the prices actually charged or paid;
  • the differences between rates paid by existing customers and those paid by new customers (front and back-book pricing behaviour);
  • pricing decisions in response to changes to the official cash rate; and
  • factors preventing customers from switching to cheaper home loans.

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“The [ACCC] inquiry supports the government’s commitment to promoting competition and good consumer outcomes in the residential mortgage market,” Treasurer Frydenberg said.

The competition watchdog is expected to hand down a preliminary report by 30 March 2020, with a final report due by 30 September 2020.

[Related: Government launches new mortgage pricing inquiry]


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