The revelation that Australia’s biggest banks have spent years charging over 200,000 customers fees for services they did not receive is yet more proof we need a Royal Commission into the banking and financial services sector.

ASIC’s Financial Advice: Fees for no service report reveals AMP, ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac groups will have to pay almost $180 million in compensation because yet again they have failed to do the right thing by ordinary Australians.

The report shows customers who initially signed up for financial advice have been charged thousands in fees for services they did not even receive – in some cases years after they had any contact with their bank.

It shows that there were great systems in place to record incoming revenue, but very little to ensure that customers were actually getting anything in return for the fees being charged. Customers were even charged fees for advice from financial advisers who had left or retired, and for ‘services’ that involved nothing more than three unanswered phone calls. 

Labor has long argued that our banks and financial services providers are putting profits before people, and Australians are paying a heavy price. Today’s report on fees for nothing comes after a steady drip of scandals and rip-offs involving dodgy financial advice, unpaid insurance claims and small businesses having the rug pulled out from under them. Where does it end? 

Only a Royal Commission can get to the bottom of the culture and practices that let these problems fester in the banking and financial services sector, allow victims to be heard and identify the changes needed to give Australians confidence that these scandals won’t happen again.

Every day Malcolm Turnbull stands with the big banks against a Royal Commission is another day he fails to protect ordinary Australians from the rip-offs – big and small – that just keep coming.

Senator Katy Gallagher is Labor's Shadow Minister for Small Business and Financial Services

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