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Bank bosses will face public grillings

Labor wants the banks to explain how they will implement the royal commission’s recommendations. Source: AAP

Big bank bosses will be forced to reveal how they plan to clean up their act and fix their cultures if Labor wins the next election.

The policy comes as the government handed the Australian Financial Complaints Authority the ability to consider complaints going back to 1 January 2008.

Under the Labor plan, banks will have to publicly report how they’re meeting the recommendations from the banking royal commission.

“We’ll make banking execs front up to parliament and explain what they are doing to clean up their act,” Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said.

“The royal commission can’t be left to gather dust on a bookshelf.

“We will continue the fight to make sure consumers are protected and the banks aren’t let off the hook.”

The four major banks and the regulators will have to develop plans to implement the royal commission’s recommendations by 1 August.

Then every six months they will all have to publicly report about their progress, and the chief executives of the banks will have to front up to explain themselves.

Labor wants parliament to sit for extra days in March to push through new laws ahead of the May election, otherwise they may not be in place until August.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced on Wednesday the complaints authority would now have a window between 1 July this year and 30 June 2020, to consider complaints dating back to 1 January 2008.

The new remit will cover complaints that have not previously been heard and which fall within AFCA’s current monetary limits and compensation thresholds.

Current compensation thresholds are: $500,000 for consumers; $1 million for small businesses; and $2 million for primary producers.

Frydenberg said such a move showed the government was committed to restoring trust in the financial system, while Labor was seeking to pull stunts.

“We already have systems in place for the banks to come and explain their case to the parliament,” he said.

“And after two weeks we are still waiting for Labor’s comprehensive response to the royal commission.”

– AAP

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