Scramble to lift low banking standards

Terrible behaviour unearthed at the banking royal commission has the government and industry scrambling to lift financial standards.

But Labor is worried prosecutors will run out of money to track down serious financial crime within a year.

Financial Services Institute of Australasia chief executive Chris Whitehead announced industry-wide standards to restore trust in financial services.

has no defined industry-wide requirements for professional qualifications in banking, so the Chartered Banker qualifications are based on an international model.

“As an organisation, we felt the industry needed to focus on lifting levels of competency and conduct and improved culture in banking,” Mr Whitehead told reporters on Thursday.

Mr Whitehead is pushing for a “professional banking council” to set standards of competence and conduct for the banking industry.

Treasurer Scott Morrison introduced legislation into parliament to create a second deputy chair position within the n Prudential Regulation Authority.

“This helps to maximise the skills and capabilities available to APRA within its leadership,” Mr Morrison said on Thursday.

The royal commission has heard bank advisers charged dead clients for years, with n Federal Police commissioner Andrew Colvin promising to investigate any criminal referrals.

Mr Morrison said the banks must be brought to account, but governments can’t go too far.

“But what we must also be aware of is, if we are not careful in how we respond to these issues … we could cause great self-harm to our national economy,” he said.

Labor is concerned prosecutors will be unable to launch action against dodgy bankers and financial crooks when their dedicated funding runs out just after the royal commission ends.

Money allocated to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions to pursue serious financial crime is due to end in about 12 months.

“It is astonishing that the government sees fit to abolish the serious financial crime taskforce just when it may be needed the most,” Labor’s justice spokeswoman Clare O’Neil said.

Labor announced a $25 million boost to the CDPP if it wins the next election.

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