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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