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Workers call for a watchdog role in finance sector

For immediate release - 4 November 2008

Workers call for a watchdog role in finance sector regulation

Finance workers should have a direct watchdog role and be the eyes and ears of any new regulation developed to govern the industry, say their union Finsec.

Finsec also says the government should seek direct feedback from staff on the implementation of commitments reached with local banks on their handling of customers affected by the global economic downturn in exchange for the underwriting of their wholesale borrowing.

The global trade union for finance workers, UNI, of which Finsec is an affiliate, has today called on world leaders to create a role for finance workers in monitoring and reporting on the implementation of any new regulation to deal with the current financial crisis.

“Finance workers are uniquely placed to play a regulatory watchdog role. Workers on the ground are in the best position to know if regulatory agreements are being implemented properly and most importantly they are in the best position to report on rules being breached,” said Finsec Campaigns Director Andrew Campbell.

“Bank staff in New Zealand can play a role in monitoring the implementation of the agreements reached between the government and the major banks on how customers facing mortgage repayment problems are dealt with,” said Campbell.

“It is great that the banks have said they will help customers facing problems. However most banks have also recently increased targets for staff that encourage them to get customers into more debt, so it really is just an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff,” said Campbell.

“Any new financial regulation or agreements need strong oversight and transparency to be credible. Finance workers are in a unique position to provide input into oversight and keep the banks honest,” said Campbell.

“The old regulatory systems are no longer relevant. It is time to put the public back into the regulatory equation. Finance staff can play an important role in monitoring a better and fairer finance industry for everyone,” said Campbell.

Please find the UNI media statement and overview of their proposals for a workers’ role in finance industry regulation attached.



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