Banking lessons to be learnt from down under

Mike Smith, CEO of ANZ Bank, has made a impassioned plea for an end to bank bashing. His speech applies equally to the UK, how important the banks are to the UK economy and what the banks need to do to respond to the current financial crisis.

“Allowing a populist backlash against our most successful businesses – whether they be miners, telcos or banks – and allowing a long-standing commitment to open markets and globalisation to be undermined – will inevitably lead to a less prosperous future for all of us – shareholders and the community alike.
“In this regard there has been a great deal of debate in Australia in recent months about the four major banks.
“One of the key issues is competition in the banking sector.
“We believe this is an important discussion because a strong banking system has been, and continues to be, critical to Australia’s economic success and therefore our national prosperity.”
Mr Smith said the irony is that in Australia we are currently having an inquiry into the banks which are safe and successful while in the US and UK there are inquiries into why banks failed, or had to be bailed out by their governments.
“Lower credit growth and the higher costs of doing business mean we’ll need to drive productivity and innovation even harder to stay ahead of the game,” he told shareholders.
“We need to change – we need to streamline our structures and do things in a new and different way.
“Our customers want simpler processes. They want convenience, they want security, and they want more innovation from us – and this also helps drive medium and long-term value for shareholders.”

Plain talking common sense.

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