The CEOs of ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, and Westpac will appear before the House of Representatives standing committee on economics in the coming days.
The public hearings, which will be the first appearance of the big four bank chiefs before the committee in the 47th Parliament, are scheduled to begin on Wednesday morning with ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott, followed by NAB CEO Ross McEwan on Wednesday afternoon.
Then, on Thursday, CBA CEO Matt Comyn is scheduled to appear before the committee in the morning before Westpac CEO Peter King makes an appearance in the afternoon.
House economics committee chair and Labor MP Daniel Mulino said the hearings provided a timely opportunity to shine a spotlight on Australia’s big four banks.
“Australian households and small businesses depend on these banks for general banking, mortgages, and business loans. It is crucial that our banks are resilient, but also competitive, given that the big four banks control some 80 per cent of the market,” he said.
“Furthermore, in a year that has been characterised by rising interest rates, bank closures, and increasingly sophisticated scams, the committee will examine the measures the banks have taken to protect their institutions and their customers.
“For example, there are varying approaches among the big four to tackling scams, so it will be a good opportunity to quiz the banks on this issue and what plans are afoot to protect people from ever more targeted scams.”
The committee indicated it would examine how the banks are “balancing the interests of a diverse set of stakeholders” including borrowers, depositors, shareholders, and the community.
The public hearings on Wednesday and Thursday are expected to cover matters relevant to both the committee’s review of the big four banks as well as its inquiry into promoting economic dynamism, competition, and business formation.
“Given that the hearings also cover the inquiry into competition, the committee will investigate all relevant issues, including market concentration and barriers to entry,” Dr Mulino added.
Among the issues that the committee will consider as part of its examination of the banks are:
- The setting of interest rates on deposit and loan products, including the influence of competition, profit margins and developments in bank funding.
- The financial position of borrowers, including their experience in relation to the interest rate environment and inflation.
- The fair treatment of bank customers, including the operation of dispute resolution and remediation processes.
- The ongoing implementation of recommendations of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry that are relevant to the banking sector.
- The role of banks in supporting the flow of credit, including to small businesses.
- Banks’ operational performance, including online service outages and cyber security resilience.
- How banks are responding to the risks and opportunities of climate change, and how the banking sector can support Australia’s progress towards climate and other sustainability-related goals.
- Actions being taken by banks to protect customers from scams, including on scam prevention, detection and response, and how these compare to actions overseas.
Jon Bragg is a journalist for Momentum Media's Investor Daily, nestegg and ifa. He enjoys writing about a wide variety of financial topics and issues and exploring the many implications they have on all aspects of life.