Press Release

For immediate release

Information verified correct on December 5th, 2016

Wake Up Australia: banks, regulators and consumers urged to lift their game!

  • Banking system needs to compete on a global scale
  • Key issue: more transparency needed
  • Consumers to seek more independent comparison

December 9, 2014, Sydney, Australia – Australian online business guru and leading entrepreneur Fred Schebesta is urging banks, regulators and consumers to become more accountable and independent, in the wake of the Financial System Inquiry report released on Sunday, December 7, 2014.

Mr Schebesta co-founded finder.com.au with Frank Restuccia, and it’s now one of Australia’s biggest comparison websites and wholly owned by the two business partners.

Mr Schebesta welcomes the inquiry and said Australian banks need to stop thinking locally and start expanding globally.

“Australian banks are not even close to being globally competitive in so many ways. This is insular thinking from an insular country that needs to think about actually being globally competitive for any future chance of expanding.

“Stop being a little island. Start earning profits not just from Australia but from all around the world. Australia could become the new global Switzerland of finance with global banks around the world.

“Comparatively, the Australian financial system is a joke – we’re isolated and currently pretty terrible at integration. There’s some huge risks, for example the big four banks are so similar in business structure that it’s crucial they take on more capital – if something comes along and cripples our economy, we’re going to see all four crumble in the exact same way.

“In one sentence, the FSI is telling Australia to wake up.”

One of the biggest issues in Australia’s banking system is the lack of transparency, according to Mr Schebesta.

“It’s great to see that a key message from the Inquiry was the need for more transparency. It’s about time it was seriously recognised that guidance and disclosure needs to be improved, especially in general insurance.

“It’s not fair that some institutions purposefully hide who they are owned by because they don’t want people to know that they favour or conflict with the provider. Institutions need to understand that hiding their identity makes them untrustworthy to the public.

“All financial and any advice from comparison websites, brokers and financial institutions in Australia should disclose its ownership structure upfront. This will give consumers a much clearer perspective on the incentives that are driving the decisions of that entity.

“I think consumers will start getting more independent advice which will mean better financial outcomes for Australians.”

Mr Schebesta also said that more disclosure is needed around pricing.

“I strongly think that general insurers need to disclose so much more around pricing. Many Australians are overpaying for general insurance and its time they got a fairer deal by allowing technology to actually start comparing the different offerings from the different providers.”

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Disclaimer

The information in this release is accurate as of the date published, but rates, fees and other product features may have changed. Please see updated product information on finder.com.au's review pages for the current correct values.

About finder.com.au:

finder.com.au is one of Australia’s biggest comparison websites and has helped over 4.8 million Australians find better credit cards, home loans, life insurance, shopping deals and more since 2006. finder.com.au compares 250 credit and debit cards from 31 providers, over 300 home loan products, and information from 13 life insurance providers as well as online shopping promo codes, mobile phone plans, travel insurance and more. One Australian every five minutes is using finder.com.au or creditcardfinder.com.au to find better (Source: Google Analytics).

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