Concerns raised over domination of big four banks in WA

By Kathryn Diss

Customer-owned P&N Bank has grown to become WA‘s largest locally-owned bank, but its success story is a rare one. “Today … you really only have two significant players who are non-big four, Bankwest and ourselves, in the WA market,” he said.

While the big four banks declined to speak with the ABC for this report, their submissions to the inquiry said the market was highly competitive, with a large number of players providing a broad range of financial products.

“People like R&I bank, Perth Building Society, Town and Country Challenge Bank, all of those institutions have since been either merged or acquired by larger financial institutions,” P&N Bank chief executive Andrew Hadley said.

A recent survey by Choice found those who bank with the big four and their sub-brands are far less satisfied than customers of smaller institutions.

He said the biggest roadblock strangling the growth of smaller players was a regulation which requires them to hold double the amount of cash for a mortgage than a big four bank.

With more than a dozen home grown banks, credit unions and building societies in the market, West Australians were spoilt for choice when deciding who to bank with.

Delivering on a key election promise, the Federal Government launched an inquiry into bank competition last year, putting former Commonwealth bank chief David Murray at its helm.

In handing down his interim report, Mr Murray said while he recognised smaller players may be disadvantaged in the mortgage market, the issue of competition appeared to gain little traction.

Read more here: ABC


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