Barnaby Fights Gouging Banks

18 Mar

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

Kevin Rudd is at odds with experts over his claim that new laws give government regulators the power to stop big banks from ”gouging” mortgage payers through excessively high interest rates, consumer advocates say.

Asked about a recent Reserve Bank report suggesting the banks have been profiteering with recent interest rate rises, Mr Rudd said: ”The Reserve Bank is right. The banks have been gouging. That’s the bottom line here.”

But the laws, still before the Senate, are about protecting borrowers from unfair loan contracts, not from unjustified increases in interest rates, according to a Choice spokesman, Christopher Zinn.

The Opposition Finance spokesman, Senator Barnaby Joyce, also said the new consumer laws had no relevance to rates and suggested that if Mr Rudd was truly concerned about borrowers being charged too much he would give the competition watchdog the power to solve the problem.

”The Prime Minister appears to be saying the banking market is over-concentrated and the big banks are exploiting that market power to put their rates up. If that’s what he thinks, then he should give the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission the power to step in and fix it … this is a job for the ACCC: it’s got nothing to do with the consumer credit laws,” Senator Joyce said.

Once again, we see Barnaby Joyce front and centre, fighting to defend the little guy.

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