HomeMedia & ResourcesMedia ReleasesCOBA welcomes steps towards a more competitive banking sector

COBA welcomes steps towards a more competitive banking sector


The Australian banking sector is a step closer to becoming more competitive following the introduction of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Mutual Reforms) Bill 2019 into Federal Parliament’s Upper House today.

The Customer Owned Banking Association has welcomed the introduction of the Bill in to the Senate and is urging Members of Parliament to continue to offer bipartisan support by providing the Bill and its reform measures a quick passage through parliament.

The Bill includes both tranches of the reforms to address recommendations made in the Hammond Review to improve the ability of credit unions, building societies and mutual banks to take on the ‘Big Four’ banks.

The Bill amends the Corporations Act to implement the following key reforms:

  • defining a mutual entity,
  • reforming the demutualisation rules to only be triggered in an intended demutualisation, and
  • creating a mutual-specific Mutual Capital Instrument (MCI)

These reforms will improve the capacity of Australia’s customer owned banking sector to more easily raise capital and increase its ability to compete with the nation’s major banks.

Customer Owned Banking Association Chief Executive Michael Lawrence said that improved competition results in better outcomes for consumers.

“With greater competition, comes greater consumer outcomes. Australian consumers need, want and demand greater competition. The introduction of this Bill into parliament is a step towards achieving that.”

Mr Lawrence said COBA welcomed the Bill’s introduction into parliament but that the next step was for Members of Parliament to continue their existing bipartisan support of the Bill to ensure it didn’t wind up on the legislative ‘to do’ list.

“We welcome the introduction of this Bill into Parliament, but we can’t rest on our laurels. Now that the Bill is in parliament there is no need for these crucial reforms to end up in a legislative log jam.

“There has been a great show of bipartisan support for this Bill. We’re grateful for the significant efforts made by Members of Parliament to see this Bill introduced and call on them to maintain their commitment to a more competitive banking sector.

 “If the Royal Commission has shown us anything, it’s what can happen when competition is lacking and the big players are able to take their customers for granted.

“MPs on both sides of the aisle need to continue their work to help deliver a more competitive banking sector by ensuring quick passage of this Bill through parliament.”

COBA is the industry body for mutual banks, credit unions and building societies. With four million customers, total assets of $116 billion and more than 70 institutions, the customer owned sector collectively holds the largest pool of household deposits and the largest housing book outside the Big Four banks.

For more information please contact:

Mick Gibb
Corporate Affairs Manager
0423 149 494
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Download PDF version pdfhere.


Media Contacts

Ashley Penny
Corporate Affairs Manager
P: +61 2 8035 8444
M: +61 431 932 950
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