ALP wants bank social charter

The pressure on banks to become more socially aware has increased after Opposition Leader Kim Beazley called for a social charter for the banking industry. Mr Beazley said that a Labour government would introduce a social charter that would make banks responsible for fulfilling their obligation to the community as well as their commitment to shareholders. Under Mr Beazley's proposal, banks, the Financial Services Union, community, consumer and pensioner groups would meet to outline the banks' community obligations particularly regarding branch closures and access to over-the-counter fees. However, Mr Beazley pointed out that whilst the ALP encouraged a social charter, it did not support regulation of the banking sector. Meanwhile, Mr Jeff Oughton, acting chief executive of the Australian Bankers Association (ABA), said banks were aware of the need to rebuild their reputation amongst the public and that the ABA would be happy to discuss concerns with politicians and community groups.

‘Labor banks on social charter,' The Australian Financial Review, 13/12/00, p 19.