Opinion

Government must tread carefully with bank changes

By Shepparton News

Last week Commissioner Kenneth Hayne handed down his highly anticipated final report following the completion of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.

The report contains 76 separate recommendations.

Labor has vowed it will implement all 76, while the Coalition has stated it will be ‘‘taking action’’ on the recommendations, a slightly less emphatic response.

While Labor has called for an extra two sitting weeks to be allocated in federal parliament to act immediately, we feel this is largely political point-scoring.

There is little opportunity between now and the federal election to implement Commissioner Hayne’s recommendations. The report is 496 pages long and its recommendations will require significant and careful study to implement prudently and correctly.

Many acts of parliament will require amending. It is conceivable that implementing the recommendations will take months, if not years.

The crucible of a pre-election campaign is the wrong time for voting on legislation.

Already, mortgage brokers, who we note did not seem to feature heavily during the running of the commission, find themselves targeted with recommendations that could significantly alter their industry. If Labor wins the election and moves on implementing every recommendation, mortgage brokers will see themselves stripped of commissions paid by the banks.

Brokers have complained this will devastate their business model.

We make no comment on the rights or wrongs of the recommendations, but note the government should always proceed carefully when changing laws that directly and negatively impact the current operations of a large industry.

There are many jobs at stake and if drastic change is needed, it should be implemented slowly and carefully.

One needs only look back to the harm caused by the sudden changes wrought by the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Bill 2017 when thousands of Victorians saw the value of their taxi licences drop to nothing following a vote of Victorian parliament.

It is clear the Royal Commission was necessary; however, we fear overacting, or acting too hastily, will impact areas of the financial sector that were not the primary focus of the inquiry.