The findings of the Haynes Royal Commission into Banking and Financial Services shocked us all – $1b stolen from customers, misconduct and greed on a grand scale. Two years on and guess what? Less than a third of recommendations have been implemented, some watered down and some rejected altogether.
The government had resisted taking action and the banks poured big money into political party coffers but the scandals that emerged finally couldn’t be overlooked, thanks to the efforts of NP Senator John Williams and a Senate inquiry in 2016, whistleblower Jeff Morris and Fairfax investigative journalist, Adele Ferguson.
The Commission made 76 recommendations; 54 directed at Government. The Consumer Action Law Centre analysis suggests only 27 of the 76 have been implemented, two of which involved no action. The sector says, reported by the ABC, that the number is 44, the difference being those that were watered down, changed or not yet passed into law. It’s hard to pin down.
The Government says legislation has been delayed by the pandemic. However it did announce it will remove credit protections for borrowers – a move strongly rejected by consumer groups because it would allow banks to aggressively sell debt. Doubtless to say, this was not a recommendation of the Royal Commission
The ABC reports that mortgage broker commissions won’t be banned, there’s no sign of a compensation scheme of last resort.
It would make good sense for the Senate Economics Committee that did the initial inquiry, to investigate progress.
Meanwhile, this week the AEC’s report on political donations for 2019-20 shows a whopping $1.6m coming from the big banks and financial services to the major parties.