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Westpac profit: Costello must act.



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Media Release

SENATOR STEPHEN CONROY ALAN GRIFFIN MP DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSUMER AFFAIRS SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES

6 May 2004

WESTPAC PROFIT - COSTELLO MUST ACT

Westpac’s announcement today of yet another record interim profit of $1.225 billion shows that the Treasurer must act to restrain the fee gouging practices of the major banks.

Westpac’s profit is once again built on the back of a record result in retail banking.

Today's report also makes clear that Westpac intends to claw back from consumers all the revenue lost as a result of the Reserve Banks’ credit card reforms which cut interchange fees. Westpac stated that the reduction in interchange revenue will "be largely mitigated by increased fee revenues from other retail products, mainly due to a fee repricing program implemented in mid-2003".

Westpac's credit card claw back once again demonstrates the need for ACCC scrutiny is required to protect consumers.

Last year Westpac announced fee hikes on a wide range of banking products including: • Annual fees on ‘Altitude’ credit cards up 53% to $75 • Overdrawn account fees up 20% to $30

• Periodical payment not made, fees up 60% to $40 • Non-Westpac ATM fees up 20% to $1.50

According to RBA data, bank fees on households have increased by 122 per to over $2.7 billion since John Howard was elected.

The free market is simply not restraining bank fees.

A Labor Government would formally direct the ACCC to monitor bank fees and charges.

For further information please contact: Alan Griffin: 0419 353 476 Mark Tapley (Stephen Conroy’s Office) : 02 6277-3295