“We need banks to fuel the economic engine of recovery and back households and small business,” said chair of the House of Representatives standing committee on economics, Tim Wilson MP, in the lead-up to the forthcoming hearing with NAB and Westpac.
With much of Australia’s population still under lockdown and experiencing associated economic hardship, executives from NAB and Westpac will appear before the House economics committee at a public hearing on Thursday, 9 September.
The impact of lockdowns on bank customers and how the banks are responding to this, including supports for home and small and medium business loan customers, will be discussed, as will the banks’ progress in implementing the recommendations of the Hayne royal commission.
Mr Wilson said that “this hearing will be an opportunity for the committee to continue its ongoing review of the banks and their responses to COVID-19 and Hayne royal commission. The committee is interested in knowing about the impact of the lockdowns on mortgage and business loan deferrals and ensuring that banks are responding appropriately to the economic distress of their customers.”
Additionally, the hearing will cover the implications of common ownership and capital concentration on Australia’s economy. Common ownership and capital concentration pose significant risks to the vitality of Australia’s economy, as rival firms are disincentivised from competitive behaviour due to common ownership structures and the concentration of vast amounts of capital in the hands of a small number of powerful institutional investors, including banks.
“Australia’s major banks not only play important roles as large investors and in providing access to capital for other investors, but also face risks from common ownership themselves, should the same investors hold significant shares across the big four. Investigating the impact of common ownership and capital concentration on the banks and how they are responding to the threats posed by these trends will be a central focus of the hearing,” Mr Wilson said.
For more information about the hearings, or to read transcripts from previous hearings, you can visit the committee’s website.