Big Four demand banking inquiry, Turnbull acts


Australia’s big four banks have successfully forced the hand of the Turnball government, with the Prime Minister this morning announcing a Royal Commission into the banking sector.

In a letter co-signed by the chief executives and chairs of Australia’s major banks – the Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, Westpac and NAB – the federal government was urged to “act decisively to deliver certainty to Australia’s financial services sector, our customers and the community.”

While the banks have long argued that such an inquiry was “unwarranted”, they now agreed it was in the national interest to end the political uncertainty.

“A strong, well-regulated and well-governed banking system is in the interests of all Australians and is critical to job creation and fairness,” the letter said.

“We now ask you and your government to act to ensure a properly constituted inquiry into the financial services sector is established to put an end to the uncertainty and restore trust, respect and confidence.”

In the letter, the big four offered a list of necessary criteria they believe would constitute a “proper inquiry” into the sector.

“It should be led by an eminent and respected ex-judicial officer. It terms of reference should be thoughtfully drafted and free of political influence. Its scope should be sufficient to cover the community’s core concerns which include banking, insurance, superannuation and non-ADI providers.”