Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | 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

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Addiction To Chinese Student Fees

Last week, Australian PM Scott Morrison extended its ban on foreign visitors from or passing through from mainland China – including Chinese students - for a third week. New Zealand has dutifully followed suit, with our travel ban ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Coronavirus, And The Iowa Debacle

As Bloomberg says, the coronavirus shutdown is creating the world’s biggest work-from-home experiment. On the upside, the mortality rate with the current outbreak is lower than with SARS in 2003, but (for a number of reasons) the economic impact this time ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Dodging A Bullet Over The Transport Cost Over-Runs

As New Zealand gears up to begin its $6.8 billion programme of large scale roading projects all around the country, we should be aware of this morning’s sobering headlines from New South Wales, where the cost overruns on major transport projects ... More>>

Gordon Campbell:On Kobemania, Palestine And The Infrastructure Package

Quick quiz to end the week. What deserves the more attention – the death of a US basketball legend, or the end of Palestinian hopes for an independent state? Both died this week, but only one was met with almost total indifference by the global community. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Double Standard That’s Bound To Dominate The Election

Are National really better political managers than Labour, particularly when it comes to running the economy? For many voters – and the business community in particular - their belief in National’s inherent competence is a simple act of faith. More>>


Gordon Campbell : On Dealing With Impeccable, Impeachable Lies

By now, the end game the Republican Senate majority has in mind in their setting of the rules for the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump is pretty clear to everyone: first deny the Democrats the ability to call witnesses and offer evidence, and then derisively dismiss the charges for lack of evidence. For his part, does former security adviser John Bolton really, really want to testify against his former boss? If there was any competing faction within the Republican Party, there might be some point for Bolton in doing so – but there isn’t. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Why The Dice Are Loaded Against Women..

If they enter public life, women can expect a type of intense (and contradictory) scrutiny that is rarely applied to their male counterparts... More>>

 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog