Royal Commission into the banking industry

Can you imagine being a bank CEO today? Wouldn’t you be wishing you were leading the bank 10 years ago before the global financial crisis when you could do whatever you wanted without too much fuss?

Fast forward to 2017. Bank CEOs are under intense scrutiny, but still pushing the banks’ profit-driven agenda in the face of scandal after scandal and community anger.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale has backed calls for a new “people’s bank” to challenge the power of the Big Four mega-banks. He told the National Press Club on March 15: “The time has come for a people's bank, one that injects real competition into the banking sector.”

Senator Di Natale drew on the example of the state-owned KiwiBank in New Zealand, run by the NZ Post Office. A similar operation in Australia would boost competition, push down fees, help young buyers enter the property market and deter “unscrupulous behaviour”, he said.

The revelations from the Panama papers continue to reverberate around the world. While the Australian angle has so far been a bit anticlimactic, it did kick off a discussion about the banking sector and tax havens.

Bill Shorten, in an uncharacteristic display of spinal-cord solidification, seized the initiative and announced that the Labor Party would conduct a Royal Commission into the banking industry if elected.

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