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Tuesday, 6 April 1971


Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON - On 24th February Senator Wood asked me without notice whether I knew that certain banks were using forceful and threatening measures to have overdrafts reduced within a very short time. The honourable senator also asked whether I considered that such drastic actions would be likely to create panic in the business and rural community and were in accordance with what should be expected from the banking system. I said that I would refer the matter to the Treasurer. The Treasurer has now provided me with the following information:

The Reserve Bank has advised me that, consistent with its policy requests, banks are exercising restraint in their new lending and are supervising closely repayment arrangements for existing overdrafts. However, statistics of bank lending do not support the suggestion of widespread cancellations and reductions in overdraft limits over recent months. 1 would add that the authorities and the banks are aware of the special problems being experienced by some sectors. In particular, the banks have assured the Reserve Bank that they are continuing their longstanding favourable treatment of rural producers and other businessmen operating in areas where activity is below norma) levels because of drought or flood.

Within the general policies determined by the Reserve Bank, individual cases are a matter for negotiation between the customer and the bank. If customers feel they are being unfairly treated, it is open to them to ask the head office of the bank concerned to review their cases.







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