Greater confidence in banks helps everyone: Ohlsson

The Australian Bankers’ Association has released a six-point action plan aimed at bolstering consumer confidence in banking, with a focus on protecting whistleblowers, strengthening customer-complaint processes and improving conduct.

"I think it’s our interests to make sure there is more confidence in the banking industry."
Andrew Cornell, Managing editor, BlueNotes

The plan, which follows a federal government announcement of increased funding for the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, outlines six separate initiatives:

  • An independent review of commission practices to ensure customer benefit; 
  • Improvements to complaint practices and the establishment of an independent advocate;
  • Increased support for internal ‘whistleblowers’ to ensure openness, integrity and accountability;
  • A register for those accused of poor conduct aimed at removing them from the sector;
  • A hastened review of the Code of Banking Practice to ensure it remains fit for purpose; and
  • Working with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission to ensure its success.

Speaking on the release of the plan, ANZ Group Executive Australia Fred Ohlsson said the bank understood the public’s concern around confidence and said the proposals would help everyone.

Greater confidence in banks helps everyone: Ohlsson

“The announcement and what we’ve seen in regards to funding ASIC…  is something we support,”  Ohlsson told  BlueNotes on video. “I think it’s in our interests, it’s in the government’s interest to make sure there is more confidence in the banking industry.”

He said while ANZ was already strong in these areas, and has had a customer advocate for several years, the changes would help make sure it did more.

“We want to make sure we have the highest trust and we are fair and transparent with our customers, staff and other stakeholders in the community,” Ohlsson said.

He said implementing some changes would be harder than others but ANZ was determined and willing to be exhaustive in doing so.   

“I think we will achieve them over time,” Ohlsson said.  “Overall we will get there and we are very committed as a bank and an industry.”

Ohlsson said ANZ was pleased with the ASIC developments, arguing a strong watchdog would help the bank and the industry.

“It’s certainly in our interests to make sure we have a regulator with strong capabilities we can work closely with,” Ohlsson said. “We’ll work with ASIC to make sure we are as good as we can be… and we restore the trust in the community around the banking industry.”

Watch the video above to find out more.

Andrew Cornell is managing editor at BlueNotes

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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