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Banks to be questioned on COVID-19 response

The big four banks are set to face the House of Representatives Economics Committee to discuss their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Committee chair Tim Wilson said the hearings are part of the parliament's role in publicly scrutinising and holding Australia's four major banks to account.

"The Economics Committee and I are keen to discuss the banks' response to the pandemic with the benefit of hindsight and bring forward new issues about Australia's economic recovery," Wilson said.

"Since the start of the pandemic, the Australian government has introduced a range of support measures in cooperation with the banks. It's really important that financial institutions are held accountable and that they are treating consumers fairly during what is a difficult time for many Australians."

Wilson said he is interested in ensuring the nations large lenders have done all they can to support the economy during Australia's first recession since 1991.

"We are also keen to hear about the consequences of mortgage and small and medium business loan deferrals, and where there are opportunities for reform of responsible lending laws in light of the RBA governor's recent evidence to the committee," he said.

In addition to COVID-19, the hearings will examine the four major banks' progress in implementing the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.

"The committee will scrutinise the banks on how they are improving their practices and rebuilding trust in the sector," Wilson said.

"In particular, the committee will question banks regarding compliance issues that have continued to come to light, such as Westpac's compliance failings in relation to its transaction reporting system.

"Failures of this type have once again shaken the community's trust in financial institutions, and these hearings give the committee an opportunity to follow up on how they can be prevented in the future so that the industry can regain the community's trust."

Read our full COVID-19 news coverage and analysis here.

Read more: House of Representatives Economics CommitteeTim WilsonRoyal CommissionSuperannuationWestpac
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