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Wednesday, 8 March 1961

Mr HAROLD HOLT - I know the concern which honorable members in all sections of the House feel about this matter. Following discussions with Government party members, when our parties met during the recess, I gave an assurance that not only had the directive gone forward, as announced in this House, and been transmitted by the Governor of the Reserve Bank to the general managers of the trading banks, but I had also kept closely in touch wilh the Governor of the Reserve Bank concerning the practical application of that directive. Subsequently, at my request, the Secretary to the Treasury caused this matter to be discussed fully at two meetings of the Reserve Bank Board. I have received formal advice, through him, from the Reserve Bank, in a communication dated 3rd March, to the following effect: -

The Governor is in a position to assure the Government and any other parties through whom complaints are received that the trading banks are carefully giving effect to the current qualitative credit policy, including preferential treatment to the rural industries and other export producers. This policy is adequately known throughout their institutions, and branch managers are fully aware of the need for appropriate discriminatory application of it, and the head offices of the banks stand ready to examine any complaints directed to them by their customers.

I have quoted a passage from a letter signed by an officer of the Reserve Bank. I think it gives the honorable member an assurance that the matter is firmly in the minds of the managements of the Reserve Bank and of the trading banks.

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