Australia’s largest and most representative business network, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has welcomed the Royal Commission’s final report into Australia’s financial services sector.
“The Commission has rightly taken the financial sector to task over its conduct,” Australian Chamber CEO, James Pearson, said.
“We welcome the Federal Government and Opposition’s bipartisan commitment to act on the recommendations of Commissioner Kenneth Hayne.
“We were pleased to hear Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s assurances that the Commission’s recommendations will not result in consumers and businesses facing tighter lending conditions and that customers will now deal with a financial sector that operates with higher standards.
“It is essential that businesses, including small businesses, continue to have access to finance in order to support their operations, to invest, to grow and to create jobs.
“We agree with Commissioner Hayne that the Australian Banking Association should amend the definition of ‘small business’ in its Banking Code to improve access to banks for small firms by offering the same protections and procedures enjoyed by larger entities.
“As it stands, the Commissioner considers the current definition as “too complicated and too confined in its reach” and instead recommends the Code applies to small and medium sized businesses employing fewer than 100 full-time employees, where the loan applied for is less than $5 million.
“The Commissioner believes this will extend the provisions of the Code to another 10,000 to 20,000 businesses.
“The recommendations to increase the powers of APRA and ASIC, but also to establish a new independent authority to assess the effectiveness of the functions and statutory objectives of each regulator, should provide greater oversight.
“Many of Australia’s finance sector institutions have been scrutinised over the past 12 months. Now, with clear recommendations on how to deal with the issues raised, there is little benefit in continuing to bash the banks.
“They need to get on with the task of addressing the conduct and cultural issues raised in the report and demonstrating to the public that lessons have been learned.
“We need the focus to be on delivering a future where Australian consumers and businesses, both large and small, can have confidence in our financial sector.
“A secure banking system responding effectively to customers’ needs is a fundamental part of the strong economy that businesses need to thrive in – so Australians can have the jobs, living standards and opportunities to which they aspire.”
The Australian Chamber is Australia’s largest network of employers, speaking for over 300,000 businesses employing millions of Australians in every sector of the economy.