New poll reveals Australians want stronger banking competition

New research shows more than three-quarters of Australians believe the big four banks have an unfair advantage which should be addressed by the Financial System Inquiry (FSI).

The Essential Research survey of 1000 Australians revealed strong support for the FSI, with almost 80% in favour of examining the market dominance of the big four.

Customer Owned Banking Association CEO Louise Petschler said consumers have identified problems with the ‘one size fits all’ approach to Australia’s financial regulatory system.

“Unfair advantages in the system have strengthened the market power of the big four banks, meaning less competition and less choice for consumers,” Ms Petschler said.

“Australians understand this – 69 per cent of Australians believe there needs to be more competition in the banking sector.

“We believe that the system must change to create a level playing field for smaller players in the market, including customer owned banking institutions.”

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • More than half (57%) believe there is no genuine competition between the big four banks;
  • 82% see it as important to look at whether regulation promotes or limits competition;
  • 70% say big the four need stronger regulation to limit their dominance, and a similar number say regulation should not be one size fits all;
  • There is confusion about multi-branding by the big banks with just 52% surveyed saying St George was owned by a big four bank, down to a low of just 29% for RAMS;
  • Around 80% say the customer owned sector is important part of the banking sector, provides vital services in regional communities and should be supported by the regulatory system to promote competition.

“These poll results show the strong community support for Australia’s credit unions, building societies and mutual banks,” Ms Petschler said.

“With over 4.5 million customers, we provide a real alternative to the big four banks and we need to be supported by s stronger financial system to promote further competition and choice for Australian consumers.”

For more information and interview requests please contact:

Daniel McDougall, Senior Manager – Media and Communication 02 8035 8444 or 0407 637 541, [email protected]

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