The release of the Regional Banking Taskforce Final Report late on Friday afternoon has been welcomed by former Co-Chair of the Taskforce, Senator Perin Davey.
The Deputy Leader of The Nationals said the onus was now on the banks to better communicate with and support regional communities and to ensure they investigate all options to provide ongoing services to their rural and regional customers.
“It was The Nationals in Government who instigated the Regional Banking Taskforce to look at the impact of regional branch closures and options to ensure ongoing cash services in these communities,” she said.
“At the time, our message to the banks was that if they didn’t do enough with things like the impact assessment, we would look at regulation.
“The Taskforce brought together industry and stakeholders including the Australian Banking Association, Community Owned Banking Association, Bank@Post, and business and local Government representatives.
“It was really important that recommendations were worked through with industry which would be responsible for their implementation,” Senator Davey said.
Senator Davey said the Taskforce held several constructive meetings to develop recommendations, with the Treasury Secretariat drafting the report.
“The first draft, I felt, didn’t go far enough and the change of Government put the process on hold, so I thank the new Government for releasing the report.
“With more time, we may have recommended more but as it stands, we must ensure we continue to monitor the banks and others to make sure the recommendations are the bare minimum of support for regional communities.
“I welcome the Australian Banking Association’s commitment to strengthen the branch closure protocol to improve communication and support as well as implementing branch closure impact assessments.
“The Government must monitor the sector to ensure the measures being put in place are meaningful,” Senator Davey said.