The Courier-Mail

Credit com­mit­tee warns bank bosses

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THE CEOs of Aus­tralia’s largest banks will be dragged be­fore the Se­nate, if nec­es­sary, to ex­plain sky-high credit card in­ter­est rates.

This emerged as more than 10,000 Aus­tralian house­holds re­sponded to a ral­ly­ing cry and joined the Big Debt Switch on its first day of pur­su­ing a bet­ter deal on plas­tic.

The Se­nate eco­nom­ics ref­er­ences com­mit­tee is pre­pared to take the un­prece­dented step of com­pelling the Big Four bosses to at­tend if they do not agree to give ev­i­dence vol­un­tar­ily. “We will never get to the bot­tom of what has gone on in this in­dus­try, in my per­sonal opin­ion, with­out get­ting in the high­est of­fi­cers of Aus­tralia’s big­gest banks,” said in­quiry chair­man, La­bor’s Sam Dast­yari.

Last week, the Re­serve Bank of Aus­tralia told the in­quiry that some in­ter­est rates were in­ex­pli­ca­bly high, while con­sumer ad­vo­cacy groups said there was a need to tighten lend­ing cri­te­ria and raise min­i­mum re­pay­ments.

“It would be un­prece­dented for the com­mit­tee to need to use its com­pul­sion pow­ers; any de­ci­sion to use those pow­ers would be a mat­ter for the com­mit­tee,” Sen­a­tor Dast­yari said. “I would hope we won’t need to use our pow­ers in this in­stance,” he said.

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