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Banks are good corporate citizens.



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Media Release Banks are good corporate citizens The Australian Bankers'Association said that banking and financial service providers are delivering on their community obligations in their evidence presented today to the Joint Parliamentary Inquiry into Fees on Electronic and Telephone Banking.

Jeff Oughton, acting Chief Executive of the Australian Bankers'Association, said that banking service providers are involved in a wide range of community-focussed activities that aren't solely motivated by the need to provide an appropriate return to shareholders and fulfilling customer needs.

Mr Oughton said that all Australians with identification have access to the banking and financial services system and can open a bank account to fulfil their personal transaction needs.

"Low-cost accounts already exist in Australia. A survey of ABA members found for transaction banking services - including face to face, paper or electronic - the average customer pays between 25 cents and $2.30 per week - just 0.3% of average earnings. More generally, depending on the service provider, up to 75% of customers do not pay fees on personal transaction accounts. And for those Australians who are financially disadvantaged, pensioners, students, disabled, there are substantial fee discounts and exemptions provided by most financial service providers.

"Some banks are addressing the branch closure issue by ceasing closing branches and by providing alternatives including face-to face services by expanding their physical presence in regional and rural Australia by third-party arrangements with the Post Office, supermarkets, pharamacies and other agencies. The Government is also opening Rural Transaction Centres.

"Banks also make a difference in our community, whether it is by supporting a helicopter which helps save lives, volunteering to help people in their suburb, actively helping raise money for medical research, development of programs to help our young people in sport, business and improve life skills, sponsorship of sporting clubs and associations, not to mention funding of education and scholarship opportunities.

"More generally, banking service providers have played, and continue to play, a key part in our nation's economic and social development, underpinning the establishment of Australia as one of the great home-owning countries of the world.

"Banks have supported the development of strong industries such as agricultural, mining

and tourism, and provided universal banking services to all citizens throughout our history. They are also competing in world markets, earning export dollars for the economy. They are job providers, employing around 200 000 people. Each year, banks pay one in eight dollars paid to the Government in company taxes, which is then spent by our elected representatives on schools, hospitals, roads, health and the needy.

For further information: Heather Wellard, ABA PR : (02) 8298 0411 or 0409 830 439. Also see our website: www.bankers.asn.au

Adelaide, August 23, 2000, 14/00