By Jill Fraser
At a press conference in Canberra yesterday Prime Minister Julia Gillard addressed a Treasury warning, revealed in documents obtained under the Freedom of Information act, that abolishing exit fees could cost customers more.
PM: The government believes that our moves to increase banking competition, including getting rid of bank exit fees, will get a better deal ultimately for customers, that more competition is good. If the banks go in competing hard for people’s business, then consumers will get better deals and in fact over recent weeks people will have seen major advertising campaigns from the banks out there, offering deals to consumers going in to get consumer business offering better deals as a result.
So that’s what our competition package and banking reforms have been all about, making sure that the customer has choices, the customer can take their business from bank to bank and the customer therefore can require their banks to give them a better deal, that’s why we didn’t want to see exit fees that lock people in into one product and prevent them saying to their bank, I’m going down the road for a better deal.
JOURNALIST: Did you get that advice and did it worry you at all?
PM: You’ve got to strike a package here and government has to make the decisions that it believes are in the national interest and we certainly believe it’s in the national interest to not have people handcuffed to banking products they no longer want and not able to use their ability to say to their bank, I want a better deal or I’m taking my business elsewhere.