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Scottie Morrison Was Right – The Banking Royal Commission Was A Waste Of Time!

While I’m sure some of you having been taking an avid interest in the Banking Royal Commission, there’ll be others who haven’t quite kept up.

One of the shocking takeaways so far is the discovery that banks are putting profits before their customers. Of course, when I say “shocking” I’m only refering to handful of people who’ve never had any dealings with a bank, because I’m sure the rest of Australia is well aware of the way in which banks work. You only have to look back to when some banks charged people who used the tellers because they wanted to “encourage” people to use the ATMs. When they’d got people accustomed to these machine things, they reduced the number of humans actually working behind the counter and started charging for using the ATM.

To anyone who’s dealt with a bank, the revelations at the Royal Commission are no surprise. It’s as predictable as Dan Tehan telling us that Labor’s proposal to fund preschool for three-year-olds is “a big headline number, it’s big spendage by Bill Shorten, which means that your taxes will go up. All it shows is that Labor will be a big-spending, big-taxing government.” We know that this is going to put our taxes up because it’s costing $1.7 billion, unlike the $4.3 billion which Tehan’s government just gave to the private schools. Anyone who’s listened to the Liberals knows that any money they spend is fiscally responsible, but any money Labor spends will put up taxes. (To be fair, Tehan’s remarks weren’t entirely predictable because I wasn’t aware that “spendage” was a word.)

One should hardly be surprised that the insurance and superannuation arms of many financial institutions were even worse. After all, when you campaign against changes that ensure when you give financial advice, you’re expected to be acting in the “best interests of the client”, sort of gives the game away. It’d be like doctors campaigning against legislation that prevented them from prescribing medicines that were likely to kill their patients, arguing that their livelihood depends on the kickbacks that they get from dangerous drugs.

So far it’s gone something like this:

Royal Commission: You seem to have sold inappropriate policies to some people. 

Financial Institution Representative: Inappropriate, how?

RC: Well, when they tried to collect, they discovered that they weren’t eligible.

FIR: Yes, well, that was because they didn’t fully understand their insurance policy. You see, people take out insurance so that they have peace of mind and they don’t always look at the fine details. 

RC: But you continue to take their money even though they weren’t insured against the disaster that happened?

FIR: Well, that’s because the disaster wasn’t anything they were insured against. For example, a casual employee doesn’t have a regular income so income protection doesn’t pay out because it only replaces their regular income and because they don’t have one, they don’t get anything. 

RC: So, effectively their paying for nothing?

FIR: No, no, of course not. Like I said, before they get peace of mind.

RC: But not if they actually need to collect?

FIR: Well, of course not. By then, they can’t work, their life’s in a mess and what good would money do when you’re too ill to work?

RC: You’ve also been charging dead people.

FIR: Yes.

RC: Well, that’s hardly ethical.

FIR: Well, none of them have complained. Look, you need to understand that the policy clearly states that we’re entitled to charge them until such time as the client let’s us know that he or she is dead. 

RC: How can a dead person let you know they’re dead?

FIR: Yes, I can see that it could be difficult. However, if their relatives or friends notice the policy and let us know, then we’ll stop just as soon as we get authorisation telling us that they are allowed to act on behalf of the deceased. 

RC: And where would they get that from?

RC: FIR: Well, the deceased person would need to give them power of attorney.

RC: Surely, you can see why people are appalled…

FIR: Yes, I can see that some people may not understand the way insurance works. 

RC: Which is?

FIR: Well, we take your money and give you peace of mind by telling you that we’re there if you need us. Then, if you try and collect, we’ll explain that it was a condition of the policy that you needed to make it clear at the time of signing that you didn’t have any pre-existing conditions, but clearly you must have or what happened wouldn’t have happened.  Now, some things are just bad luck, but we’d argue that people’s luck is a pre-existing condition…

RC: So you put profits before your clients?

FIR: Of course. However, over the past few days of this Commission, we’ve all come to understand that we may have been a little overzealous in doing that, so let’s just wind things up. We’ve learned some valuable lessons and we’re sorry and we won’t do it again, ok? 

Yep, the Royal Commission’s report will be completed but not fully released because the government will need time to digest it, look at the recommendations and get the election out the way before agreeing that the banks and others have already taken most of them on board, so legislation would just be expensive, unnecessary red-tape. Yep, it was the fault of ASIC for being asleep at the wheel.

So, all in all, if the public were silly enough to fall for the line in the sand argument again… Remember, Tony Abbott’s 2014 pronouncement that, after a few bad weeks, “Good government starts today!” or Turnbull’s suggestion that the government had lost its way but if he took over, it’d be a fresh start? We’re now up to Scott “third time lucky” Morrison telling us that everything’s back on track because he’s having a go. If the public were to buy the idea that things are ok now and re-elect the Coalition, the Royal Commission would have just been an expensive exercise which didn’t lead to any improvements in the financial sector and ScOMO would be proven right.

Although, these links make interesting reading when the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison/Dutton government try to lay the blame at ASIC’s feet:

https://www.smh.com.au/business/asic-lashes-budget-cuts-20141029-11dr2c.html

https://www.afr.com/news/policy/budget/federal-budget-2018-asics-shock-26m-budget-cut-20180509-h0zud4

 


15 comments

  1. Geoff Andrews

    Ross,
    I’ll have to give you a piece of my mind to put my pedantic mind at peace.

    The Shovel revealed a week or so ago that:
    “A Royal Commission has taken 289 days, 9,000 submissions, 27 witness statements and two thousand hours of evidence to come to the conclusion that banks are only in it for the cash.

    The key finding – released this week – was the result of painstaking analysis by a team of experts. Bob from Melbourne made the same finding after pondering on the subject over a cup of tea.

    The enquiry also discovered that there are four major banks in Australia.”

    Loved both of ’em.

  2. Diannaart

    Scott “third time lucky” Morrison

    Einstein pointed out repeating the same experiment, getting the same result, while continuing to repeat the experiment hoping for something different … really dumb.

    Time to de-dumb the government, bring on an election now … although elections tend to produce results that are becoming a bit same, same.

    ☹️

  3. Peter F

    Geoff, I wonder if ‘peace of mind’ ever came into it.

  4. DrakeN

    Geoff,

    what you have to remember is that a large part of the community needs to have the simplest of things demonstrated to them in fine detail so that they can fail to understand it much as they did the contracts which they did not read, believed that the contractors existed entirely for their personal benefit and were outraged that things were not quite as they seemed.
    Some of them even believe the kind of stuff which emanates from the likes of “Sky after Dark”, the radio ‘shock jocks’ and the commercial media.
    For others of us, it confirmed our observations that there was something dreadfully awry in the world of finance and that we are routinely being rorted at every opportunity.
    It has also laid bare the case for further Commissions into the incestuous relationships between politicians, public servants and profiteers.

  5. john ferris

    Love this. I fully experienced the difficulty trying to sort out my fathers ‘estate’ after his death. Even with the POA, the executor of his estate and his guardian, it was an ongoing struggle and took so much time and effort to get organisations to stop charging or close accounts in the way he / we wanted. Some things never were resolved. In some ways this was comforting that his business was ‘secure’ but it was only secure for the companies and not those who owned the accounts…. If the LNP get re-elected it clearly proves the humans really are being subjected to and easily seduced by deliberate strategic mind control techniques by those with money and power.

  6. New England Cocky

    Now Rossleigh, you know it is very unchristian of you to take a Liarbral politician at their word, I mean, which of their two faces would you believe?

    When it all boils down, even Blind Freddie can see that the RAbbott Turdball Morriscum LNP misgovernment have no talent except self-aggrandisement, no policies except enriching foreign owned multinational corporations that already pay no tax on their Australian profits, and no desire to work towards the best interests of Australian voters.

    Bring on the 2018 Federal election so the we may despatch this coven of crooks to the WPB of Australian political history.

  7. Kaye Lee

    My mother has been in a nursing home for 10 years. Out of the blue, her superannuation company rang me to ask if she was still alive. I said yes. They said they wanted to talk to her. I said you can’t, she has Alzheimer’s. They said, unless they could talk to her, they would have to cut off her superannuation because she hadn’t been in touch for many years. I said you can’t do that, I have Power of Attorney. They said show us so I sent a copy. They responded it had to be an original, not a copy. So I got a nurse I know to authorise it and sent it again. They said not good enough, we don’t know she is an authorised witness, and promptly cut off mum’s income. It took over 3 months to get it reinstated and get the backpay and I had to get my solicitor to help me. Meanwhile we had to come up with her nursing home fees. I have never been through a more frustrating experience in my life.

  8. John Hermann

    Kaye, I would be interested to know which superannuation company you are referring to. It sounds like a retail super fund and a commercial banking subsidiary.

  9. Kaye Lee

    I think it is called First State Super? Actually it may just be State Super. She was a teacher and is on a defined benefit payment.

  10. helvityni

    Scottie Morrison Was Right…he picked Tehan to be our Minister for Education, oh well, there’s not much to choose from, is there…?

  11. Ria Young

    I read some years ago that it was extremely difficult to cancel a credit card for a decesaed person. Apparently the banks were insisting that the person owning the card was the only one able to cancel it. Makes you wonder, when to do that. After death but before the funeral? Or after the funeral costs had been paid?

  12. Lurline O'Brien

    Unfortunately Ria, it can’t be too hard. My ex husbands siblings, upset that he married me, rang his credit card company, telstra and a couple of other places declaring him dead. We went to use the card one day and the salesperson received a message to ring the company, whereupon she was told the man in front of her was deceased.

  13. helvityni

    WOW, Lurline O’Brien, un-bloody-believable, this one takes the cake…!

  14. New England Cocky

    @Kaye Lee: First State Super is the former State Superannuation Fund that all NSW public servants wee required to pay into. I have discovered that they have some “interesting” business practices in my contact with them.

  15. Matters Not

    Re:

    it was the fault of ASIC for being asleep at the wheel.

    But not when it comes to adopting the rorts of the performance bonuses system so much loved by those being ‘regulated’.

    fair to say that ASIC’s upper echelon appears guilty of the very accusations levelled at bank executives at the Royal Commission, namely greed. Since 2008, the average bonus for the lowly ranked ASIC4 staff level has increased by $194 (6 per cent) while the average bonus for ASIC’s top guns in the SES category has increased by $6,732 (58 per cent).

    No doubt the victims of bellicose banking practices would be displeased to find that the culture of the banks and the corporate watchdog are somewhat intertwined. Both offer bonuses or financial rewards to their staff for short-term performance and it drives their behaviour.

    https://www.michaelwest.com.au/fees-for-no-service-asic-performance-bonuses-revealed/

    The notion that workers get a bonus for doing what they are already paid to do is hilarious. It’s just another example of why we shouldn’t follow the ‘common sense’ that permeates US cultural life – where Trump proposes a bonus for teachers who are prepared to carry – guns that is.

    Have a problem? Just magnify that which caused it in the first place.

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