Newsletter – February 23 2018

“Some would describe doing talkback radio as a ‘heart and minds campaign, trying to win over the Australian public, to like banks a little bit more.

Is that what this is all about? “

ANZ CEO Shayne Elliot: We said that part of the reason we are having a Royal Commission is…because we’ve lost the community trust.

You can’t have the community trust if you’re not willing to engage in the community, you got to be out there. You got to be visiting and talking to people.” (Listen here)


Do you trust banks?

That seems to be the burning question, doesn’t it…

And for most of us, a fairly simple answer – No, we don’t.

Rising rates, increasing fees, insane profits at our expense and salaries through the roof – and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

And we’re sick of it. Our trust in banks really is at an all-time low.

Now this conversation went for the majority of last year but it was only back in October, the boss of the Westpac Consumer Bank, George Frazis, admitted to it…he said trust in banks really is an issue.

That admission made many, including me, certainly stand up and take notice. Banks admitting they are not in favour with the public, arguable one of Australia’s largest institutions which has control over our finances…yes, a major problem.

But – the banks are now trying to change this. They are actively trying to win back the trust and support of customers. Now – I’m not too sure they will be all that successful but they are giving it a good crack.

We saw very real evidence last year when they slashed the $2 ATM fee.

Before you kid yourself, this wasn’t the banks being generous. People know the banks don’t really do anything from the generosity of their heart. The banks are about money and they think with their wallet.

The reason the banks cut the $2 ATM fees is because they actually want to reduce the physical number of actual ATM’s. So really, it’s cheaper for them. Less ATM’s to care about, less expense.

But it was marketed to be in the interest of the customers – as I said, don’t be fooled.

Another reason was the Royal Commission – most of last year was dominated by the banks fending off any suggestion of one. And in a shock move, they called for one themselves. But again – this was another attempt to win back the trust of customers.

And let’s not forget the eye-watering $6.8 billion in profit the big four collected last year.

It was also only this week the Competition Watchdog, the ACCC, warned it has the banks in their sights, especially making sure existing customers get as good as a deal as new customers when it comes to their mortgages.

As I said, trust in banks is at an all-time low right now. And the big four are trying to turn it around.

This week I saw – first hand – one of the big four banks chief executives trying to do just that. He was trying to win some of that trust of customers by listening to their concerns and actually talking with them.

Shayne Elliot, the boss of the ANZ Bank, joined me live in studio earlier this week and we took calls. (Listen Here)

A ‘heart and minds’ campaign as I called it.

Shayne Elliot says “A part of the reason we are having a Royal Commission …is because we’ve lost the community trust.

So things like this [talkback radio], social media, whatever – we need to hear from people, we need to have an avenue for also telling our story.”

Because you see, the banks are so focused on changing the image of the bank and building the community trust – is because they are worried customers will be lured away – to other banks, to overseas banks, to small banks, etc.

Regardless – the big four could very well lose customers and profit and they do not want that at all.

So this is why community trust is so important to them – they rely on the trust of customers to stay with their banks.

Now – technology is a major player, the increasing automation of banks through online apps, etc. And with NAB announcing 6,000 job cuts, no doubt other banks will follow and people are worried.

But one thing Shayne said on Wednesday really surprised when it came to bank branches – he says they will most certainly be around for a very long time. You see, we had a caller – Alex from Cammeray – who reminded both Shayne and myself of just that.

Alex, who is in his early 70’s, still visits his local branch every two weeks. He doesn’t use the ANZ Banking app, he doesn’t do online banking, he still even uses a cheque book! He is, in banking terms, a Dinosaur.

But its actually this group the ANZ rely on, the ones the ANZ take a special interest in.

But is it enough to win the trust of the community? We will have to wait and see –

9News –

The ACCC has outlined their agenda for 2018. Who do they have their eyes on? – Watch here

Money News –

This week I got to ask QANTAS Boss Alan Joyce when will he start paying company tax after another record profit? – Listen here

Work. Life. Money –

For the final episode of Work. Life. Money for at least a couple of months, I am joined by Attorney-general Christian Porter. We discuss the very important issue of Elder Abuse and what the government is doing to try and stop it – Listen here from Sunday

Interviews and Stories for the week

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