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Australian banks to face three-day inquiry
The Australian government has promised a "significant" cultural change in the way the country's banks treat their customers, ahead of this week's three-day parliamentary inquiry into the banking sector on Tuesday.
 
The government in August said it would grill the heads of the four major banks, the Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, Westpac and NAB, following their controversial decision not to pass on the Reserve Bank of Australia's (RBA) interest rate cut to customers, Xinhua news agency reported.
 
The government said it would be exploring ways to make the banking sector more accountable through driving competition within the industry, with Commonwealth Bank boss Ian Narev to be the first CEO to face the House of Representatives Economics Committee on Tuesday.
 
The committee's chair, Liberal MP David Coleman, said the inquiry would help restore consumer confidence in the banks, which have been revealed to be the most profitable in the OECD.
 
"This public forum of 12 hours of hearings this week is a very substantial development and I think it will lead to significant cultural change in the industry," Coleman said on Tuesday.
 
Despite the government inquiry, the federal opposition has maintained its pressure on the government to call a royal commission into banking, MP Matt Thistlethwaite said. The "unethical behaviour" had been exposed but a three-day questioning would not result in any meaningful change.
 
"Many of the scandals in the banking industry are continuing, the unethical behaviour continues," Thistlethwaite said.
 
"Whistleblowers have told us that what's been exposed to date is the tip of the iceberg."
 
Labour's Shadow Minister for Financial Services, Katy Gallagher, said the inquiry was a weak response from the government and was just a way for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to protect the banks from having to face an independent royal commission.
 
"The bank CEOs will walk away at the end of their three-hour chat, safe in the knowledge that they won't be questioned again," she said.
 
"Meanwhile those who've lost their savings, their homes or their businesses and who remain in debt to the banks will be stuck living with the consequences every day."
 
While the government has maintained its position that the three-day inquiry will uncover the root of the issue, research undertaken by the Australia Institute found that two-thirds of Aussie voters still want a royal commission.
 
At least 77 per cent of Australians believe the banks should be forced to pass on the interest rate cuts, while 75 per cent believe banks should put customers ahead of shareholders.
 
Half of all voters think the government's inquiry is simply a way for Turnbull to protect the banks.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Trump admits benefiting from 'unfair' tax laws
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has admitted greatly benefiting from "unfair" US tax laws, saying that he used them "brilliantly" to his advantage, but promising to change them if he becomes the President.
 
"The unfairness of the tax laws is unbelievable, it's something I've been talking about for a long time, despite frankly being a big beneficiary of the laws," Efe news quoted Trump as saying on Monday.
 
"I'm working for you now, I'm not working for Trump," he said -- a statement that brought cheers from the crowd at a campaign rally in Pueblo, Colorado.
 
According to the billionaire, because of his past experience with using the tax laws to his benefit, he understands the complex system better than anybody else and is the only person who can "fix" it, promising to do exactly that, although not specifying exactly what he would do in that regard.
 
In his first remarks after revelations about his tax history were published by The New York Times on Saturday, the magnate said that he had "brilliantly" used the US tax laws to legally pay as little in federal taxes as possible.
 
"As a businessman and real estate developer, I have legally used the tax laws to my benefit, and to the benefit of my company and my employees," Trump said.
 
"I have often said on the campaign trail, that I have a fiduciary responsibility to pay no more tax than legally required -- or, put another way, to pay as little tax as legally possible."
 
Trump waited two days to speak about the report, in which the paper said on Saturday that the mogul may have legally avoided paying federal taxes for 18 years thanks to declaring a huge business loss of $915.7 million in 1995.
 
"The media is now obsessed with an alleged tax violation from the 1990s, at the end of one of the most brutal economic downturns in our country's history," Trump said.
 
"The conditions facing real estate developers in that early '90s period were almost as bad as the Great Depression of 1929 and far worse than the Great Recession of 2008 -- not even close," he said.
 
The mogul said that he used the tax laws to get out of the crisis his businesses were suffering at that time, something that many people had been able to do.
 
He said at the Monday rally that he pays a lot of money in other taxes, specifying: "I face enormous taxes -- city, state, sales, excise, employee, federal, VAT, different countries."
 
The magnate compared himself to his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton saying that she "hasn't made an honest dollar in her entire life -- all she does is take from you, from our country, and peddles influence to donors, special interests and foreign actors".
 
"While I made my money as a highly-successful private businessman following the law," Trump said, adding that "Clinton made her money as a corrupt public official breaking the law and putting her government office up for sale".
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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