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MAKE BANKING GREAT AGAIN

At the Finance Sector Union, (FSU) we represent the hundreds of thousands of Australians who work in banks.  It’s our job to look after the teller at your branch, the worker in the call centre, the planner who helps you map out your family’s future.

 FSU National Secretary Julia Angrisano said: “Our union wants a healthy banking sector.”

“But, we also want a fair banking sector.  We want a banking sector that doesn’t require staff to continually “up-sell’ you as the customer, that doesn’t continually try to push new insurance policies, credit cards or loan products onto you. That’s not fair on you as a customer, and it’s not fair on staff,” Ms Angrisano said.

“We want bank staff to be treated fairly by management, paid appropriately, and recognised for the great work they do in delivering corporate Australia’s biggest profits.

Over the last year the Finance Sector Union has made submissions to Government and regulators on:

  • The Sedgewick Review into Retail Remuneration ( ie how bank workers are paid);
  • The Treasury review into the Australian Security and Investment Commission’s power to ban senior officials in the finance sector;
  • The Senate Standing Committee’s inquiry into Consumer Protection in the banking, finance and financial sector; and,
  • The Treasury consultation paper on the Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR ).

 

“Our position has been utterly consistent.  We want a healthy banking sector that does the right thing by the public, and the right thing by its staff,” Ms Angrisano said.

“Our perspective on the current debate is unique.  We see the merits in each side of the arguments. Our job is to balance the competing arguments and form a view that encourages a healthy finance sector, but which also treats staff and customers with fairness and respect.”

“We believe senior banking executives when they say they want a more ethical, fair and transparent sector.  But we are also realists; for decades, our union has seen ordinary bank workers held responsible for actions that can only arise from toxic or mercenary banking cultures – cultures that senior executives must bear responsibility for.”

“For years, bank worker pay has been directly linked to the ‘products’ they sell. That is, when you go to the bank to deposit or withdraw funds, or sign up for a mortgage or a business loan, there was an incentive to also sell you some insurance, a credit card or other loan product.”

“That model has now been banned.  But, our members tell us that the pressure to sell products remains.”

“We want things to change; for our members, and for customers.”

“Five years from now, the healthiest banks will be those that have a culture that embodies fairness, transparency and ethical behaviour. These elements will be what rebuilds trust, and that rebuilding of trust is ultimately what will benefit staff and consumers.”

“The FSU believes the quickest way to get to this outcome – a fairer, trusted sector - isn’t with piecemeal reform, committees or self-regulation. Instead, we support the establishment of a Royal Commission that goes to the heart of poor culture, and examines things like:

  • The pressures on staff to ‘up-sell’ to consumers;
  • The need for fair and appeallable internal discipline procedures;
  • The need for greater accountability at senior levels to ensure ordinary workers aren’t thrown under a bus when things go wrong; and,
  • A minimum level of service provision, especially for Australia’s rural and regional locations.

“Over recent years we’ve seen a number of scandals in the banking and finance sector. Those scandals are deeply disturbing.  Australian’s have seen banks providing unwanted overdrafts to customers, provide bad or biased financial advice, manipulate bank bill swap rates, breach AUSTRAC reporting requirements and engage in foreign exchange collusion.

“These issues go to the heart of consumer confidence.

“We want that confidence restored.  We have already pledged to work alongside banks to help restore the reputation of the industry, and we will always stand shoulder to shoulder with banks that are doing the right thing.

“That’s the responsible thing to do for staff and customers.  And guess what?  It’s the responsible thing to do for Australia.

“Let’s have the Royal Commission, let’s put in place the measures to restore trust, and let’s work together to develop the world’s most stable, ethical and prosperous banking sector,” Ms Angrisano said.

 

Media comment Julia Angrisano 0418 994 418

Media contact John Hill 0412 197 079

Authorised By: Julia Angrisano, National Secretary
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