Royal Commission backs banks’ money gags

Via Australia’s last journalist standing, Adele Ferguson:

Farcical, damp squib, paper tiger, stillborn. They are just a few of the words being used to describe the long awaited and much needed royal commission into financial services.

For me the royal commission is shaping up as disappointing – even before it has begun. A ridiculously tight budget, a short timeline, extremely broad terms of reference and an exclusion from looking at anything that might “prejudice, compromise or duplicate” another inquiry or court proceedings threaten to strangle it.

…A deadline of a year for the final report and six months to release a draft is unfair, particularly against the backdrop of other royal commissions including the one into trade unions, which took 18 months and the royal commission into child sexual abuse, which took five years.

A once-over-lightly inquiry will make it difficult to get to the heart of the issues and restore confidence.

From the get-go the royal commission, led by former High Court judge Kenneth Hayne, hasn’t done itself any favours by issuing a statement discouraging anyone who has signed a gag order – customer or employee – from filing a submission relating to misconduct or poor behaviour. Given this is the standard of the industry, it stops a lot of good evidence coming through.

The reality is customers who have been dudded and whistleblowers who have exposed wrongdoing are the best placed to help the commission identify patterns and themes. All the commission needed to do was ask financial institutions to waive confidentiality agreements and it would have avoided a public backlash.

It took Senator John Williams to see the problem and ask the banks to waive confidentiality agreements. Now the rest of the sector needs to follow suit.

If they don’t, Senator Williams warned, he would set up a Senate inquiry to receive evidence under parliamentary privilege that he could then pass on to the commission.

The take out, whether right or wrong, is Senate inquiries have more clout than a royal commission. That’s bad PR.

At MB we know of multiple victims of predatory lending that have been paid off to keep quiet.



  1. Ban banks from charging $5/month for the “burden” of keeping money in a savings account.

    Require ATMs to give the cash first instead of the card first when withdrawing money. Better yet, get the ATM to package the cash and card into an envelope!

    Restore Labor’s FOFA laws.

      • Ric, if I leave my card in the ATM, they should require the password/PIN for the next transaction – so no money will be lost.

        They can even charge people for losing the card.

        Unfortunately I have left cash in the ATM when I was in a hurry and I am not the only one.

    • Jacob: I think the ATM thing is to stop people taking the cash and walking off and forgetting their card

    • FFS Jacob, I sure hope the Royal Commission comes up with something more significant than changing the order an ATM gives back the money and the card!

  2. Jumping jack flash

    Seriously. Did anyone expect it to be any different?
    How could it have been different?

    When your entire economy is built on a precarious and diabolical system of creating debt from debt, and then using debt to repay the debt, you don’t look too closely at the organisations responsible for the distribution of debt!

    They don’t call them the 4 pillars for nothing.
    In fact they should call them the 4 silos.

    If they’re on a witch-hunt then they should also go after the realestate agents and the mortgage brokers, who in my opinion are just as responsible for the problem of everyone having too much debt. Perhaps moreso.

    But, as is acutely obvious, good luck rounding up and extracting a pound of flesh from those herds of cats.

    • It all comes back to politicians. They make the rules. Every single thing is their responsibility, their doing, their standards.

      Put the whole lot in jail, confiscate their wealth and start again.

  3. reusachtigeMEMBER

    If people have been paid off they’ve made a deal already and that should be it! I agree that if they break that deal they should be sued. It’s double dipping and goes against our free and capitalist societies respect for contract law!

  4. Are you watching the hearing this morning? Hayne just said non disclosure agreements mean jack all.. Cmon focus on facts please.

  5. “At MB we know of multiple victims of predatory lending that have been paid off to keep quiet”

    is there a common MO the victims adopt to gain redress? FSO first? or the localbank branch perhaps? I’ll skip the local MP