Stephens, David: Does the banker still hold all the cards?

Stephens, David

Does the banker still hold all the cards?Honest History, 24 November 2014 and updated

A historical view of some aspects of banking policy, inspired by a recent piece from The Australia Institute targeting the concentration of banking deposits and power in the top four banks and published exactly 67 years after the 1947 parliamentary debate on bank nationalisation, which led to the most heated political battle in Australia since the conscription struggles of 1916-17. Labor prime minister and treasurer, Ben Chifley, is quoted at length.

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Banking is also a theme in our Jauncey’s view pieces, where Jauncey and Commonwealth Bank-founding former minister, King O’Malley, were close friends. More coming in that vein. Meanwhile, note the article by Denis Lenihan on whether we will ever know what happened in relation to the bank nationalisation struggle of 1947.

The Murray Report on banking has been released and the full report is here. Honest History’s interest in banking was prompted by the remarks in The Australia Institute paper on banking profits. On page 3 of the Murray Report, however, this appears:

The financial industry makes a considerable contribution to employment and economic output in Australia. However, the Inquiry believes the focus of financial system policy should be primarily on the degree of efficiency, resilience and fairness the system achieves in facilitating economic activity, rather than on its size or direct contribution (such as through wages and profits) to the economy.

Banking stocks rallied after the release of the Murray Report. Another summary and more commentary on Murray.

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