The Customer Owned Banking Association is the industry body for the customer owned financial services sector, representing Australia's credit unions, building societies, mutual banks and friendly societies. The association is owned by its member credit unions, building societies and mutual banks and champions the interests of its member institutions to support the growth and competitiveness of the customer owned model in the financial services market.
Some current key issues facing the customer owned financial services sector are:
Competition in the banking market is a high-priority public policy issue due to Australia's highly concentrated banking market and market dominance of the 'big four' banks. Credit unions, building societies and mutual banks deliver highly competitive banking services to 4.5 million Australians against the market power and unfair cost-of-funding advantage of the major banks. Customer-owned banking is the proven alternative to the listed model and customer-owned institutions are more essential than ever to maintain competition and diversity in the banking market and to give consumers genuine choice.
COBA calls for an independent, well-resourced inquiry into the Australian banking market, including whether regulatory and policy settings have shifted too far to stability and away from competition, choice and innovation.
COBA calls for a prudential regulatory framework that gives due weight to promoting competition and diversity, that accommodates the customer-owned model as well as the listed model, and that is accountable and subject to appropriate Parliamentary oversight.
Regulatory burden and compliance costs
COBA calls on regulators and policy-makers to recognise the disproportionate impact and anti-competitive effect of regulation and new legislative requirements on smaller institutions.
Confident & informed retail banking consumers
COBA calls on regulators and policy-makers to reduce the risk posed to consumers by the unregulated 'shadow banking' sector and to require major banks to be transparent and accountable with the multi-brand strategies.
COBA calls for fairer taxation of customer-owned banking institutions and their owners by allowing customer-owned banking institutions a simple, marketable and efficient mechanism to distribute franking credits.