Banking royal commission: Report to be released

REPORT: The banking royal commission's final report was handed over on Friday, and will be publicly released on Monday. Photo: FILE
REPORT: The banking royal commission's final report was handed over on Friday, and will be publicly released on Monday. Photo: FILE

THE “knee-jerk” reaction of tightening lending conditions by some banks could be retracted following the banking royal commission, a Central West business leader says.

The commission was announced in November 2017 by the federal government and since then many cases of misconduct have been revealed.

On Friday, it was announced that the Commission reviewed more than 10,000 submissions from the public, completed 69 days of public hearings and considered thousands of documents provided by entities, regulators and consumer advocacy groups.

Central West business leaders said they were not expecting many big surprises in the release of the recommendations on Monday afternoon, 

Dubbo Chamber of Commerce president Matt Wright said the royal commission had “been pretty heavily played out in the media” so he did not expect any surprises.

“They’ve [lenders] already changed a lot of their processes in anticipation of things in the royal commission,” he said.

There’s been a knee-jerk reaction from some lenders to the point where they’ve probably gone too far and we’ll see a little bit of retraction.

Dubbo Chamber of Commerce president Matt Wright

Mr Wright said the high-level scrutiny of consumer lending was “almost forensic” and this could be wound back.

“There’s been a knee-jerk reaction from some lenders to the point where they’ve probably gone too far and we’ll see a little bit of retraction,” he said.

Mr Wright said due to a tightening of lending there had been an increase in short-term loans of 12-24 months that had been taken out by businesses.

Business lending was the biggest concern for Bathurst Business Chamber president Angus Edwards who said access to finance was vital.

“There’s certainly a tightening up on accessing business finance,” he said.

“Businesses needing to expand, buy new equipment and buy new merchandise, they need to access finance to do things.

“If there’s too many hoops to jump through for businesses to access money, that’s what we’re worried about.”

Mr Edwards said the commission had revealed that behaviour by some of the big banks was unacceptable and it had lead to some businesses being “wiped out”.

“There may well be recommendations to prosecute and if people are breaking the law they need to be prosecuted,” he said.

There may well be recommendations to prosecute and if people are breaking the law they need to be prosecuted.

Bathurst Business Chamber president Angus Edwards

While Orange Business Chamber president Ash Brown said there the royal commission should make the industry better into the future.

“The banks have certainly realised that they’ve got to change their ways,” he said.

“It’ll [the commission’s recommendations] probably be what everyone is expecting, so more regulations and more due diligence in what the banks need to ask their clients.”

While Mr Brown acknowledged that it was tougher to access finance these days, he said loans were still being approved.

“Although people are taking a little longer and having to give more information, people are still getting their loans,” he said.

“Whenever you get a loan for a home or equipment, it’s a pretty simple rule that if you default that the banks want to recoup that loan.

“It’s probably a good thing in the future because maybe the clients who don’t get the loan would be the ones who would get into difficulty.”