Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is taking credit for an ANZ credit card interest rate cut, claiming it is evidence that his standing committee on economics is working.
The PM claims the rate cut proves that a royal commission into banking and finance is no longer necessary and that his committee has provided real results.
“I am bringing the banks regularly before the house economics committee and they are being held to account for their actions and you are seeing real results,” said Mr Turnbull.
ANZ has cut its credit card interest rate on its platinum card by two per cent, which will cost the bank around $25 million per year.
Not only has the PM taken credit for the rate cut, but Liberal MP Scott Buchholz, who sits on the committee, has effectively used the cut as an advertisement for ANZ.
“[ANZ] have showed commercial courage in this space and leading the charge on dropping their rates first and I would encourage anyone who has got a credit card in Australia if they are not happy with the interest rates they are paying in Australia at the moment, to migrate to the ANZ,” said Mr Buchholz.
The Government remains under pressure to instigate a royal commission into banks, with Labor, the Greens, the Nick Xenophon Team and other independents still in favour of the move.
Although the Coalition seems reticent to commit to a royal commission, there is a possibility that a parliamentary commission of inquiry could be another option.
Mr Buchholz has said that he’ll continue to put pressure on the other three big banks to follow ANZ’s rate cut.
“Pressure was brought about on the banks in that [first] inquiry and again, we will have the banks appearing early next month in the next fortnight in Canberra along with the Australian Banking Association and I will take a similar line of questioning with those banks that haven’t taken the commercial choice to shift their interest rates yet,” said Mr Buchholz.
Consumer watchdog CHOICE described the ANZ cut as “cold comfort” for customers, maintaining that the interest rates on credit cards are still far too high. In fact, the big four banks do not have a single card in the top 20 most competitive rates in the nation.
“They are still toxic products and the big four banks know that,” said CHOICE spokesperson Tom Godfrey. “ANZ is a long way from having the most competitive card on the market.”
Mr Godfrey believes the banks should drop their rates to more reasonable levels below 10 per cent.
Is Malcolm Turnbull clutching at straws? Or are you happy that there are signs that his committee is working? If not, do you still feel that we should have a royal commission into banking?