Banks required to make switching easier

Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan has announced four initiatives aimed at making it easier to switch bank accounts and to reduce loan switching fees. A new service, to be overseen by the Reserve Bank of Australia, will force banks to give their customers a list of direct credit and debit arrangements which they can take to another bank when changing accounts which the new bank will have to re-establish. Entry, exit and early termination fees will be subjected to a review by ASIC which the government expects will lead to greater disclosure and more competitive fees. In addition, a customer hotline will be established so that customer complaints go through a central point, in a similar way to the existing ombudsman service. The changes will be supplemented by an internet-based education campaign to tell customers how to switch banks. Some changes will be available in the next few weeks while the implementation of other will take until November.

Source: The Australian Financial Review