23 May 2016
LNP SAYS:- We don't need inquiry into banks? Why not?
Speaking of vaults, the issue threatening to flare up again as election day draws closer is that of the growing scandal surrounding the finance sector and the debate over whether to hold a royal commission.
It's a prospect that is scaring the pants off those in charge of our major institutions, where plans are being hatched to quietly counter the growing momentum sweeping through the community.
As if the Coalition didn't need any further spanners being thrown into the campaign works, during the past fortnight the corporate regulator has been regularly dropping juicy excerpts of its evidence in its looming case against Westpac and ANZ.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison have been at pains to talk up the abilities of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the powers they wield as part of the argument to bat away calls for a full blown inquiry.
It's unlikely, however, they would be keen for too much detail to drop just now.
The technical details of rate market rigging might leave ordinary souls bewildered. But even the financially unsophisticated understand when they've been conned, especially when it is being performed by a bunch of testosterone fuelled vulgarians.
While ASIC for once is on the front foot, each revelation merely adds weight to the arguments of those calling for a royal commission.
Hard to believe, but the rate rigging scandal threatens to trivialise the atrocious behaviour of the banks towards their retail customers; the overcharging, the false documentation, even the financial planning and insurance scams.
Every Australian has paid for the rate rigging. Every business and every bank customer has been gouged on their loans in order to help prop up bank earnings as they played juvenile games of brinkmanship against the other.
Just as they successfully banded together two and a half years ago to unwind legislative reforms - Future of Financial Advice - aimed at curbing some of those excesses, they once again are engaged in some deft political manoeuvres.
The chairmen and senior executives of all four major banks must be petrified that the public may learn the true extent of the profits made through the alleged rigging of interest rates.
For some institutions, the ill-gotten gains amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars a year. And the problem for each of the banks is that for years the market rigging was considered "standard practice".
It's not just ASIC's case that has them on edge. For they can stonewall on that for years.
The real wildcard comes from ANZ's senior trader, Etienne Alexiou, who is suing his former employer for unfair dismissal, demanding $30 million in damages. As head trader, he was regularly paid $5 million bonuses. And you only get that kind of cash as a bonus if you are generating earnings many multiples more.
We don't need inquiry into banks say LNP.
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