CANBERRA, AAP – Two of Australia’s largest banks will undergo their regular check-in with federal politicians on Thursday.
The executive teams from National Australia Bank and Westpac will face the House of Representatives economics committee.
Committee chair and Liberal MP Tim Wilson said the hearing comes at a time when much of Australia’s population is under coronavirus lockdowns and experiencing associated economic hardship.
“The committee is interested in knowing about the impact of the lockdowns on mortgage and business loan deferrals and ensuring that banks are responding appropriately to the economic distress of their customers,” Mr Wilson said.
It will also provide an opportunity for the committee to continue its ongoing review of the banks and their responses to the Hayne royal commission.
Additionally, the hearing will cover the implications of capital concentration and common ownership in Australia.
Common ownership is when institutional investors simultaneously own shares in competing firms, which can pose a risk to competition.
“Australia’s major banks not only play important roles as large investors and in providing access to capital for other investors, but also face risks from common ownership themselves, should the same investors hold significant shares across the big four,” Mr Wilson said.
“Investigating the impact of common ownership and capital concentration on the banks and how they are responding to the threats posed by these trends will be a central focus of the hearing.”
These regular committee hearings into the big four banks began prior to the Hayne royal commission into the banking system, which was established in 2017 and reported back to government in 2019 with a series of recommendations.
ANZ and the Commonwealth Bank will be grilled by the committee on September 23.