Thursday, 17 December 2009
The Four Pillars Policy Has Come Home To Roost
I've been saying this for years to anyone who will listen - Australia desperately needs more competition in its banking sector. The financial crisis only made the Big Four banks the Only Four banks, St George and BankWest having been gobbled up by Westpac and CBA.
And now the other shoe has dropped - onto consumers, hard.
Westpac has raised residential mortgage interest rates by 0.45%, almost double the RBA's rise of 0.25%.
Why? Because they can. No amount of outraged squealing by the Treasurer is any help. This is not a centrally planned economy for the government's opinion to make a whit of difference to the actions of large commercial players. The only thing that can keep commercial players honest is competition, and the Australian government (whether run by Labor or the Liberals) has squandered any chance of having a competitive market through their longstanding and craven Four Pillars policy.
I have always said we need a Ten Pillars policy. Break up the banks and let them compete. All talk of needing to be big to survive is just self-serving talk. In fact, they'll be less wasteful and more profitable as a result. And consumers won't have to put up with the outrageous actions of oligopolies.