Four major banks to face public hearing

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National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, and Westpac are currently under parliamentary scrutiny and will be the subject of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics’ public hearings on March 8 and 27 in Canberra.

These major banks, more commonly knowns as the “Big Four,” will be probed regarding the findings of the banking royal commission during the hearings.

“These hearings provide an important mechanism to hold the four major banks to account before the Parliament,” said Tim Wilson MP, chair of the committee.

The committee so far has held four rounds of hearings as part of its ongoing review. In addition, it has recommended banking reforms, which have been broadly implemented by the government to improve outcomes for Australian consumers.

These include establishing the Australian Financial Complaints Authority, a one-stop shop for consumer complaints; a regulated Banking Executive Accountability Regime; and granting new powers and resources to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in order to investigate competition issues in the setting of interest rates.

The government also adopted the committee's suggestions to establish an open data regime and modify the regulatory requirement for bank start-ups to allow more competition in the sector.

At the hearing held in October, Commonwealth Bank Chief Executive Matt Comyn became the first big bank chief executive to speak publicly after Commissioner Kenneth Hayne delivered his then interim report. Comyn apologised for the bank's misconduct and its failure to quickly remediate customers.

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