Renews call for legislation for mutuals

The Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) welcomes the Financial Services Royal Commission’s final report. The peak body notes that not all financial institutions have been behaving badly and renews the call for legislation to pass to enable mutuals including the customer owned banks to compete with the big banks.

Melina Morrison, BCCM’s CEO, said, “Consumer sentiment in the wake of the hand down of the report is for strong and immediate action. Words are not enough. The major parties have supported vital reforms to open up access to capital for smaller banks and other mutuals. Next week is the opportunity for bipartisan action when the legislation comes before Parliament. We hope the parties will do the right thing by ethical business models and pass the legislation before the election.”

The BCCM highlights the ethical alternative its members provide as change is introduced to the sector. The royal commission process has reinforced for consumers the importance of a model where there is no conflict between a customer and a profit taking third party.

“This report must usher in a new era of accountability, with an impact well beyond the banking sector. People will no longer tolerate companies which prioritise profits over their customers. The co-operative and mutual sector has always known this. In our business model, there is no conflict between shareholders and customers because they are one and the same.

She added, “Ultimately Australians will each benefit as larger, listed companies are brought to task for putting profits before people. We have members in almost every sector, including aged care. The co-op model works very well in these areas. Wherever you have a potential conflict between profit and people, this is where co-operatives and mutuals will outperform any other business model in terms of customer service. This is a fundamental problem with listed companies.”

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