Time for bankers to pay their dues

Time for bankers to pay their dues

Opinion
Aa

The revelation of Westpac failures continues Australia's 'four pillar' debacle.

Aa

The revelation of Westpac failures continues Australia's 'four pillar' debacle.

Westpac was the first Australian bank. At its establishment (then as the Bank of NSW) the major shareholder, Samuel Terry, held more mortgages than the bank itself.

He was a former convict who stole 400 pairs of stockings in Manchester. His share of GDP was estimated at 3.39 per cent, which would equate to well over $50 billion today, making him by far the wealthiest Australian in our history.

William Hutchinson was another who made the transition from convict to banking, and great wealth.

I have been interested in their careers because both were personally connected with country my family own or have owned.

The Hayne Royal Commission was opposed by the government (Senator John Williams excepted).

Now, its importance is magnified as evidence of obscene remuneration and corruption mounts.

Last week, in the Senate, Pauline Hanson, Malcolm Roberts and Jackie Lambie blocked the government's legislation attacking trade union power, saying the government was two-faced as it ignored white-collar crime and the feeble supervision of bodies such as APRA, ASIC.

The honest former ACCC chief Allan Fels has said: "Until a bank director goes to jail nothing will change".

Since my September column on banking, I have had calls from farmers, as well as friends, who can't get credit. Apparently, banks are not lending to farmers.

Credit creation isn't a subject the general public is meant to understand.

The GFC aftermath resulted in a wider realisation that if credit can be created from nothing for the rich financial sector, why can't it be done for other sectors?

A country with a central bank can create credit in its own currency.

Reserve Bank Governor, Phillip Lowe, talks about possible quantitative easing, a quaint term used by the US Federal Reserve to cover money printing during and since the GFC.

A major event in our history approaches.

Provision of credit is an essential service, like water and power. Governments have given banks the licence to create it, with a supposed government guarantee.

Obscene profits, with overpaid executives, followed.

However, that hugely privileged licence carries a responsibility - to provide credit to keep the economy operating. This must take precedence over shareholder returns.

When banks stop lending, the economy freezes and anarchy beckons.

Banks are currently sucking the lifeblood out of the real economy and multiplying the gap between rich and poor.

Australia's four major banks now account for nearly 25pc of the Australian ASX 200 capitalisation. These banks are trading trillions in derivatives.

Australia's current Treasurer and Assistant Minister Financial Services were senior figures in Deutsche Bank, which for the past four to five years has been plagued by fines and ongoing investigations.

It is ironic they may have to suspend some bank licences or recreate a People's Bank for all Australians to have access to credit.

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by