After the first double dissolution since 1987, the federal election date is set for July 2, 2016. It could be a turning point in Australian politics, and the Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA) is hoping to use the occasion to bring balance back to consumer banking.
Competition is great for the average person. The automotive industry, for instance, is releasing some of the most affordable cars in recent history, many of which are jam-packed with innovative safety and fuel-efficient technologies.
"The customer-owned model delivers competitive pricing [and] market leading customer satisfaction."
As a result, Aussie customers are buying cars in droves, with 2.2 million expected to pick up their new set of keys by 2020, and 585,000 by the end of the year, according to Roy Morgan – a historically high amount.
But that level of choice isn't exactly promoted in banking, and customers don't get the benefits of a competitive system. The Big Four receive the biggest advantages, and other banking organisations – including those that are designed to put the customer first – are pushed out.
As a direct result, COBA has launched the Better for All campaign in the lead up to the 2016 federal election.
What is Better for All?
"This election, we want to harness the positive intent that exists from political parties and voters for a stronger, more competitive and consumer-focused system," explained COBA's CEO, Mark Degotardi.
On the back of recent praise for customer-owned banking organisations, Mr Degotardi said the advantages of these banks should come to the fore if the system is rebalanced.
"The customer-owned model delivers competitive pricing, market leading customer satisfaction, and is a major employer and supporter of local communities," he added.
Doing what's right for Aussie families
This also relates to recent research around banking customer satisfaction. Mutual banking organisations and credit unions keep 91.6 per cent of their customers happy, while the Big Four can only muster 80.4 per cent, COBA found.
Mr Degotardi now wants politicians and voters to decide for themselves and deliver a balanced banking system that is truly great. No longer should the Big Four be the biggest profit-making banks in the world; they should have their consumers at the front of all they do, like customer-owned banking organisations do.
"The solution is at the fingertips of politicians who want to foster a diverse and innovative banking market, support the economy and deliver Australians choice," he summarised. "We encourage politicians to use the solutions offered in recent inquiries to address key questions that have a significant impact on Australian households."
What do you think? Is there room for banking customers to get better deals and more support?