ABA denies split within ranks

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank chief executive, Mike Hirst played down rumours of a split in the Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA) as “complete rubbish”, after voicing his support for the bank levy.

Hirst, who is also deputy chair of the ABA, had previously said the levy for the major banks (Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, Westpac, ANZ, Macquarie) introduced in the 2017 Federal Budget would boost competition between them and the smaller banks.

“From time to time there are occasions where banks have different views and different commercial interests,” Hirst said.

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“However, 99 per cent of the time we agree. As individual members we each have the strength and respect for each other that allows us to have robust discussions on a variety of issues.”

In a statement, the ABA said its CEO, Anna Bligh had been in regular contact with non-major bank CEOs, including a teleconference with all regional bank CEOs on Wednesday afternoon, with several upcoming meetings with non-major bank executives in the coming days.

Industry superannuation fund-owned ME Bank’s CEO, Jamie McPhee also voiced his support for the major bank levy. The levy would not apply to Bendigo and Adelaide Bank and ME Bank.

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