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Consumers in the dark about who they’re really banking with

by Staff reporter7 minute read
The Adviser

New research shows the majority of Australians are unaware that the big four banks have a significant share of Australia's non-major lenders.

An Essential Research poll of over 1,000 people indicates that most consumers are unaware that major banks own and control brands such as St George, Aussie and Bankwest.

Consumers are demanding change according to the poll results, with eight in 10 stating they want to see that information more clearly promoted.

Customer Owned Banking Association chief executive Mark Degotardi noted the findings back the Murray Report recommendations that call for more transparency surrounding “ownership and alignment” in the financial sector.

“The case for change is now overwhelming,” he 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.”

Mr Degotardi said rules should be put in place to prevent big banks from “camouflaging” their true identity.

The research also revealed that 74 per cent said bank sub-brands are not clear enough about their ownership in their advertising and communications, despite 91 per cent stating clarity of information was the top priority when choosing a bank.

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