ACCC to go ahead with new banking royal commission

The ACCC will approach financial sector companies for their views on competition in the sector.

ACCC to go ahead with new banking inquiry

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says it will go ahead with planning a controversial new inquiry into the banking sector regardless of government concerns about the probe and without approval from Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

Documents obtained by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age outline the ACCC’s plans for the inquiry.

These same documents reveal the regulator’s concerns that “there may be a perception that we are commencing the inquiry before the Treasurer has formed a view on whether it should proceed”.

The new royal commission will investigate digital financial entities, such as Afterpay and neobank Xinja and will review barriers to entry in retail banking currently dominated by Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, Westpac and National Australia Bank.

Unsurprisingly, the new probe has the Big Four upset. However, the ACCC is forging ahead, noting the resistance in banking circles and the notion that there is ‘inquiry fatigue’ in financial circles.

“There have been media reports of inquiry fatigue from some banks. Consulting with them in advance of a direction may increase such fatigue, and some banks may be reluctant to engage before a direction is issued,” state the documents

The ACCC plans to approach a range of financial sector companies for their views on competition in the sector.

The “highest priority” of these companies include ING, neobank Xinja and the Customer Owned Banking Association.

Other “potential targets” include pay-as-you-go providers Afterpay and Zip Co, ME Bank, America's Citigroup, and neobanks 86 400 and Volt Bank, as well as specialist suppliers including home lenders Tic:Toc, Pepper Group, La Trobe Financial and Cuscal.

"We are currently discussing potential options for our next inquiry, including the various approaches we might take and which stakeholders we would seek to engage with," said an ACCC spokesperson.

Do you agree that there are barriers preventing a fairer banking system?

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    COMMENTS

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    BrianP
    4th Oct 2019
    10:35am
    I have been nominated twice as candidate for Senator of Western Australia. As such I would support this and many more Royal commissions independent from Government approval.

    It is important that Governments do not control what Royal Commissions can do so that corruption is reduced and fairer outcomes are achieved.
    Buggsie
    4th Oct 2019
    10:37am
    The biggest barrier is government resistance to banking reforms - after all, its their mates and their biggest donors who are involved here. What real reforms have we seen from the Royal Commission? Tougher lending rules? Oh, the governement suspended them just after they were introduced and thus a new housing bubble has already begun. Excuse my cinicism, I just can't tolerate the bullshit anymore.
    libsareliars
    4th Oct 2019
    11:36am
    Spot on Buggsie, nothing changes, what a farce it all is.
    Jaz
    4th Oct 2019
    11:09am
    I think any investigation done outside of government interference is a really good thing. I also think that an investigation into governments themselves would be appreciated as they sure bring in rules applying to everyone EXCEPT themselves and that alone needs fixing.
    Jaz
    4th Oct 2019
    11:09am
    I think any investigation done outside of government interference is a really good thing. I also think that an investigation into governments themselves would be appreciated as they sure bring in rules applying to everyone EXCEPT themselves and that alone needs fixing.
    libsareliars
    4th Oct 2019
    11:37am
    Agreed Jaz - they are a law unto themselves aren't they. No wonder nobody trusts them.
    Rick
    4th Oct 2019
    11:56am
    I think you'll find that only the Governor General, acting on the advice of the PM, can appoint a Royal Commission. The ACCC may conduct an inquiry, but it wont be a Royal Commission
    Karl Marx
    4th Oct 2019
    11:58am
    Let's hope some CEO's, senior management & executives see some jail time
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-04/cba-faces-criminal-charges-comminsure-scandal/11573790
    Australia's largest bank is facing 87 criminal charges over unscrupulous practices in its life insurance arm — the first major bank to face criminal charges following the banking royal commission.

    Commonwealth Bank's insurance arm CommInsure has been charged with 'hawking' for offering to sell insurance products through unsolicited phone calls.
    Horace Cope
    4th Oct 2019
    1:50pm
    The ACCC is a joke. Here we have them planning to do a review which means that they are about to do nothing yet fuel prices are going through the roof and they are doing nothing whatsoever about that. Yes, there are barriers preventing a fairer banking system and those barriers are called shareholders. The big four are answerable only to shareholders, not the government, not the ACCC nor us, the customers.
    Rick
    4th Oct 2019
    8:00pm
    Fuel prices vary all the time - if the A$ goes down prices go up
    ; if the Iranians attack a refinery in Saudi Arabia prices go up; if a tanker is attacked in the Straights of Hormuz prices go up. The ACCC has done numerous investigations into fuel pricing and the answer is you need to shop around for the best price
    Rae
    5th Oct 2019
    6:02am
    Yes and cheaper digital banks are coming. Now that banks don't have premises it doesn't matter who you bank with as long as the security is right. It's all fake money so there is no need to stick with the Big 4 expensive banks at all.

    I haven't been inside my bank since 1982. I'm perfectly happy with the service. It must be very cheap as they only have one office and a couple of mobile vans for advice when in your area.
    Sceptic
    6th Oct 2019
    12:00pm
    Is this story a load of garbage? I thought that a Royal Commission is formally established by the Governor-General on behalf of the Crown and on the advice of Government ministers