Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Howard's End: Oz Banks Admit "Social Obligations"

In lowering transaction fees and introducing other measures aimed at improving their image, Australian banks have admitted for the first time that they have "social obligations" to the community. John Howard writes.

Australian banks will try to improve their image by offering five million disadvantaged Australians access to cheaper bank accounts.

The banks, who also operate in New Zealand, have given no indication whether they will now offer the same lower fees and conditions to New Zealanders.

Under the new industry standard announced yesterday, three months notice will be given of branch closures while the elderly and disabled people will have access to better services.

The accounts will have no account-keeping fees, six free non-deposit transactions a month, no minimum monthly balance and unlimited free deposits.

Australian Bankers' Association (ABA) chief executive, David Bell said, " The message is: the banks have heard the community, we understand we have social obligations and today we're delivering an action plan to meet those social obligations."

Australian banks made a $ AUD 9 billion profit last year.

The Australian social obligation safety net is still much less generous than that offered by banks in countries such as Britain and the United States.

Basic accounts in Britain have unlimited free transactions, in Canada they allow eight to fifteen free transactions a month and in the United States, basic accounts offer eight free transactions each month and often many more depending on the banking regulations in each State.

New Zealand looks to be the poor cousin and seems to be at the bottom of the heap having some of the highest bank charges in the world with no end in sight.

The ABA proposal, which provides that rural communities be given three month's notice before bank closures, is also less notice than is required in Canada where regulations require four months notice before a bank closure in a rural area and three months in urban areas.

That the Australian banks have finally admitted they have social obligations is a good start.

Now, it is up to each New Zealand consumer, the politicians, and the media to start asking questions about why New Zealanders shouldn't receive the lower banking fees and conditions as other countries. After all, the banking sector which operates in New Zealand is owned and controlled by essentially the same overseas owners.

The politicians should do as much for New Zealanders about banking charges as they did about Monteith's beer. I'm sure we'll all watch with interest.

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Julien Troussier: Loving Trump

It’s 3am. Cannot sleep. Restless. Slide to unlock. Open the New York Times App. Look for the latest incident. He did it again. He lashed out. Fear. Anger. Outrage. I needed to see this. I needed to check that the madness was still there. More>>


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Live Blog: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>


Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news