WE USED to have government-owned banks, including the Commonwealth Bank and the State Bank of Victoria, which existed until 1990 when it was taken over by the CBA.
But the reality is that all of Australia’s banks are privately-owned businesses, principally responsible for providing profits to shareholders.
There are the banking regulations under which they are licensed by government to operate but government is reluctant to make banks do things that would impact their profitability and viability.
Which is why it has taken so long for them to be caught out money-laundering through international transfers involving child exploitation and the proceeds of drug-related crime on a huge scale.
So, having profited from that sort of behaviour, how do you think our local banks are going to respond to cries from regional communities over a loss of banking services?
It has to come back to government legislation and the enforcement of that legislation.
These banks that have profited from rural and regional communities for decades must be made to consult with their local communities, ahead of making decisions to withdraw banking services, and once that decision is made, they must be forced to assist those regional communities to make other suitable arrangements.
The closure of the bank branches in Korumburra is part of a worldwide trend involving the reduction in the use of cash, dramatically accelerated by COVID-19, so change is coming and it’s moving fast, but it’s up to government to ensure these massively profitable companies assist local communities to make the transition.
If consumers have a complaint about a financial institution, they can contact the Federal Reserve. Together with the 12 Federal Reserve Banks, the Board of Governors can answer questions about banking practices and investigate complaints about specific banks under the Fed’s supervisory jurisdiction. For more information, visit Federal Reserve Consumer Help – http://federalreserveconsumerhelp.gov/.