Business Insider The Australian Financial Services Union (AFSU) has released a new report warning banks should slash their costs in order to compete with US competitors.
The report, which was released on Wednesday, states banks should be offering their customers cheaper credit products and be offering more credit cards.
The report also recommends that banks be able to offer up to 25 per cent of their loans as a discount on the amount of debt the customer owes.
The AFSU is a not-for-profit organisation and represents the interests of the Australian banking industry.
It is the largest financial sector lobby group in the country.
“The US is not going to stop offering its customers credit cards,” AFSV President Paul McPherson said.
“They will simply cut costs.
We want to see banks reduce their costs to compete.”
The report says the average Australian customer is still on a 10-year fixed-rate mortgage, with a $1,000 down payment.
It says it is important for banks to continue to offer high-quality credit products, as well as provide high-value consumer products.
“We are saying that in order for Australian banks to compete, they need to be able for the customer to be as good as US banks,” Mr McPhersson said, adding that the AFSUs recommendations would have a significant impact on banks in Australia.
Mr McPhetersons group also recommends banks should focus on customer service, rather than financial services, and make their customers aware of their rights.
“If we can make a customer’s experience as smooth as possible, we can also do more with the customer,” Mr McKerr said.
“If you can’t give a customer an answer, you have failed the customer.”
Mr McKerr says the report will have an impact on many of the issues that the Australian Bankers Association (ABA) has been pushing for for years.
“There’s a very high likelihood that there will be significant impact from the ABA’s recommendations,” he said.
“It is the AMA that is the biggest lobbying body in Australia, so I think the AFA is going to have to respond.”
The ABA says it will not be supporting any changes to the current rules, which allow banks to offer low-rate products.
“The AFA will continue to advocate for reforms that would protect consumers and promote a healthy, fair, and level playing field,” ABA director of banking services Matthew Green said.