Heritage Bank supports call for better consumer information in banking

New polling shows most Australians don’t trust the financial advice they get from the country’s big banks, highlighting the growing case for changes to Australia’s banking system, Heritage Bank CEO John Minz said today.

Mr Minz said the poll showed how important it was that the Federal Government’s current Financial System Inquiry (FSI) addressed concerns about competition and consumer awareness of banking products.

The research was commissioned by the Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA), the peak body for Australia’s mutual banks, credit unions and building societies.

The poll of more than 1000 Australians by Essential Research found:

· 62 per cent have little or no trust in the big four banks to give independent financial advice;

· 86 per cent of Australian’s think there needs a more transparency and clarity regarding rates and fees;

· 54 per cent of Australian’s believe there needs to be more competition in the banking market.

“These poll results underline the confusion and uncertainty many people experience in the banking market,” Mr Minz said.

“The FSI will help set the rules for the banking sector for the next decade, so we urge everyone to get involved in the debate for a better banking deal.

“Customer-owned institutions such as Heritage Bank are offering great value products and service but we need to make banking rules fairer to achieve a level playing field.”

COBA will make a further submission to the FSI later this month on behalf of Australia’s credit unions, building societies and mutual banks that together represent more than 4 million Australian customers.

****Media Note:Video grabs of Customer Owned Banking Association Acting CEO Mark Degotardi are available for download at www.balancebanking.com.auincluding a grab about the sector’s value to regional Australia.

* Based on a $150,000 loan over 25 years. WARNING: This comparison rate is true only for the examples given and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate.