Home' Connexus : Issue 44 Contents Hunger for change
The Balance Banking bus has reached its last stop, but the campaign still has its motor running.
BY CYNDI TEBBEL
Competing with a federal election
campaign is about fighting fire with
fire. Or, on the Balance Banking bus
tour, sausage with sausage. A lunchtime
barbecue has been a power f ul tool in
attracting people with a healthy appetite
for banking reform.
Two out of three Australians already
support a review of the banking system,
according to Customer Owned Banking
Association research, and Queenslanders
ar e no exception.
COBA senior media adviser Daniel
McDougall was over whelmed by the
positive response in Cair ns, Townsville,
Toowoomba and Brisbane.
“Our member CEOs, branch manager s
and people from all areas of customer-
owned organisations hit the ground
r unning,” he says.
“ People were ver y enthusiastic
about taking a show bag and signing
the petition calling for a review of the
banking sector, and keen to learn as
much as possible about the sector.”
Local media outlets also got on board,
publishing more than 200 ar ticles on the
campaign since Febr uar y. Also helped
by a strong Facebook presence, a Friday
breakfast event in Brisbane’s CBD drew
more than 400 people.
Melbour ne and Sydney have been hard
hits to Cairns businesses associated with
tourism and hospitality, he says.
“ They don’t have the granularity
of a small organisation close to their
community which under stands their
individual situations and the associated
risks of an individual member as opposed
to a segment. The way we deal with
member s is fundamentally different.”
Queensland Countr y Credit Union CEO
Aileen Cull says the campaign stop in
Townsville was an oppor tunity to engage
with the media and have a conversation
with people who hadn’t had a relationship
with her organisation in the past.
“ It’s har d to find anyone who’s against
such a good message, and it needs to
With a Coalition government now taking
the reins in Canberra, the next phase of
the campaign is under way.
The Balance Banking campaign will
put the customer -owned banking model
and competition issues front and centre,
says Mark Degotardi, COBA’s head of
The Coalition has publicly committed
to an independent financial system
inquiry, which Labor didn’t support.
“ The inquiry is necessar y because it
has been 20 years since the last one and
a lot has changed.
“ We want a regulator y framework that
allows customer -owned ADIs to compete,
and recognises and promotes diversity
and how impor tant competition is to a
strong, stable, banking system,” he says.
“C hoice has clear benefits for
consumers. If there are only four banks,
it’s a bad outcome for all of us.”
Cyndi Tebbel is a freelance writer.
Colin Daly, CEO of ECU, sums up the
dual local and general nature of the
campaign when he says the Cairns leg
helped raise awareness of his credit
union and generated excellent feedback
on ECU’s value to the local community.
“ We also had support from our local
federal member, Warren Entsch, who is
not a big fan of the big four banks,” says
Daly. Nor, it seems, are many members of
the local community.
Decisions the big banks have made in
It’s hard to find anyone
who’s against such a good
message, and it needs to
Aileen Cull, CEO, Queensland
Country Credit Union
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