In response to the Final Report of the Senate Select Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre (the Senate Report), I request the Council of Financial Regulators (the Council), being the Reserve Bank of Australia, Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Treasury, with assistance from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the Department of Home Affairs and Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, to provide advice to the Government on potential policy responses to address de-banking in Australia.
De-banking (or de-risking) occurs when a bank declines to offer or continue to provide a banking service. Key business affected include financial technology firms, digital currency exchanges, and remittance providers. De-banking can have a devastating impact on de-banked businesses and individuals. It can also stifle competition and innovation in the financial services sector, and hence negatively impact Australia’s economy.
The Senate Report made two recommendations to the Government of de-banking:
- to enact the recommendation from the 2019 ACCC inquiry into the supply of foreign currency conversion services in Australia that a scheme to address the due diligence requirements of banks be put in place, and that this occur by June 2022; and
- to develop a clear process for businesses that have been de-banked, in order to increase certainty and transparency around de-banking. This should be anchored around the Australian Financial Complaints Authority which services licensed entities.
The Council is requested to deliver advice to Government addressing:
- Trends in, and the underlying causes of, de-banking, drawing on consultation with a range of key stakeholders; and
- Possible policy responses which could be deployed, including an analysis of those recommended in the Senate Report. Policy responses should be assessed by their potential costs, benefits, complexity, risks and likely efficacy, and include the views of affected sector and financial institutions.
The Council is requested to provide advice to the Government on policy options by the end of June 2022.