House debates

Monday, 22 November 2010

Statements by Members

Financial Services

1:55 pm

Photo of John MurphyJohn Murphy (Reid, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

With so much discussion about the big banks and their outrageous behaviour in pushing their interest rates well above the RBA cash rates, I urge the House and the community to remember that there are some excellent alternatives to the big four banks. The mutual sector—credit unions and building societies—has been looking after the financial needs of Australians for more than 100 years. The structure of mutuals means that they are owned by their members, the customers. I understand that currently more than 4.5 million people in our country are members.

I am very pleased to have a number of credit unions within my electorate of Reid, in particular the Teachers Credit Union, which services a very important sector of our community: people working in education. I also note that the Teachers Credit Union is the largest credit union in New South Wales and the third largest credit union in Australia, with a presence in four states and over $3 billion in assets.

In all the talk about the big banks, it is constantly inferred that people stay with them because they are safer. I would remind the House and the community that the mutual sector has to meet the same strict standards required for licensing under the Banking Act, and is supervised by the same regulators, APRA.

Quite simply, credit unions and building societies offer the same range of services and level of safety as banks. However, unlike the banks, the profits credit unions generate are reinvested to benefit their members—their customers—in the form of competitive interest rates, lower fees and, most importantly, personal service. They are not used to line the pockets of greedy directors and demanding shareholders. (Time expired)


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