Banking & finance

Lack of transparency stifles mortgage price competition

The opaque, discretionary pricing of residential mortgages by banks makes it difficult and time consuming for borrowers to shop around and stifles price competition, a report by the ACCC has found.

The ACCC’s Residential Mortgage Price Inquiry monitored the prices charged by the five banks affected by the government’s Major Bank Levy between 9 May 2017 and 30 June 2018.

Submissions received

The ACCC released an issues paper in October 2018, seeking views and experiences from a variety of stakeholders, including consumers, consumer advocacy groups, small businesses and suppliers of foreign currency conversion services.

ACCC commences inquiry into foreign exchange

Sending money overseas, and buying foreign cash, will be the focus of a new ACCC inquiry into foreign currency conversion services.

“Whether you’re buying Euros from your bank for an upcoming trip, sending money to family in Indonesia, or you’re a small business trading with suppliers in New Zealand, foreign exchange services are used by Australians every day,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

Issues paper

On 2 October 2018, the ACCC released an issues paper for its inquiry into foreign currency conversion services. The ACCC is seeking feedback on a range of issues, including pricing, costs, barriers to entry, and other factors affecting competition in the sector.

Consumer data right

On 26 November 2017, the Australian Government announced the introduction of a consumer data right in Australia. The consumer data right will improve consumers’ ability to compare and switch between products and services. It will also encourage competition between service providers, leading not only to better prices for customers but also more innovative products and services.