HomeView 2015 Media ReleasesAustralians demand to know who they’re really banking with

Australians are unaware that major banks actually own brands like St George, Aussie and Bankwest and want changes to stop consumers being lured into banking with them, new research released today has found.

Australians are unaware that major banks actually own brands like St George, Aussie and Bankwest and want changes to stop consumers being lured into banking with them, new research released today has found.

An Essential Research poll of more than 1000 people shows that most Australians don’t know these brands are major bank owned and controlled, and eight in ten want to see that information more clearly promoted.

Customer Owned Banking Association Chief Executive Mark Degotardi said the findings back the Murray Report recommendations that call for more transparency about “ownership and alignment” in the financial sector.

“The case for change is now overwhelming,” Mr Degotardi said.

“Research shows that more than half of those surveyed are unsure who actually owns these sub-brands. Consumers are getting information that leads them to think they are banking with a local bank when they are not.

“Rules should be put in place to stop big banks camouflaging their true identity to go after customers who may prefer to bank elsewhere, including with genuinely independent players like customer owned banks, credit unions and building societies. 

“More than three-quarters of Australians want to see these changes to make the big four banks be more up front and not hide behind other brands.

“Australians just want to know who they’re actually banking with, that’s not much to ask, and at the moment that’s unclear.”

The research also revealed that:

  • 84 per cent say having trust in the financial advice they get is important in choosing who to bank with;
  • 91 per cent say transparency and clarity of information is important in helping decide who to bank with;
  • 74% say these bank sub-brands are not clear enough about their ownership in their advertising and communications.

“Genuine competition leads to better outcomes for consumers.  Major bank sub-brands parading themselves as competitors to the big banks is nothing more than the illusion of competition,” Mr Degotardi said.

“The Murray Report recommendations must be acted on to increase transparency, restore consumer trust and promote real competition in our financial system.

“We simply want these sub-brands to be required to clearly and prominently disclose in all advertising and all customer-facing material that they are owned by a larger organisation.

“This would promote genuine competition in banking because it would be easier for consumers to exercise real choice.”

For more information please contact:

Daniel McDougall, Senior Manager – Media and Communication

02 8035 8444 or 0407 637 541, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Customer Owned Banking Association is the industry body for credit unions, building societies, mutual banks and friendly societies.  See coba3.nexusone.com.au

Media Release

Essential Report on Multibranding

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Mick Gibb
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