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Govt backs small 't' banking tribunal

AAP logoAAP 6/12/2016

When is a tribunal not really a tribunal?

When it's Malcolm Turnbull's "low-cost, speedy tribunal" to deal with customer complaints against banks,.

Kelly O'Dwyer, the minister responsible for financial services, explains what the prime minister was really talking about in October was a small 't' tribunal.

That was a "catch-all for having a one-stop consumer complaints stop", she told ABC radio on Tuesday.

The difference between a "big-T" and "little-t" tribunal?

"One is far more legalistic, which means it is probably less consumer friendly and that is a 'big T tribunal," she said.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will probably see it as "t" for "toothless", and a far cry from the banking royal commission Labor wants.

Ms O'Dwyer's explanation comes just two weeks after the House of Representatives economics committee recommended a new "banking tribunal" be established by July, following its grilling of the big four bank bosses in October.

The annual parliamentary review was set up to fend off calls for a royal commission.

Instead, a Financial Industry Ombudsman will replace the two financial services ombudsmen.

The decision follows release of an interim report by an independent expert panel reviewing the financial system's external dispute resolution and complaints framework.

Mr Shorten was livid the National Australia Bank and Westpac increased the rates on some of their home loans.

"Now that the parliament has risen and avoiding the scrutiny of Mr Turnbull's toothless tiger parliamentary committee ... then the next week they decided to gouge mortgage holders more," he told reporters in Sydney.

"These big banks are out of touch and arrogant."

Chair of the parliamentary committee economics committee, Liberal MP David Coleman, said one issue identified in the inquiry was a lack of competition in the banking sector.

"I do think there is a very strong case for further government efforts in this area to stimulate competition," Mr Coleman told Sky News.

The committee recommended a six-monthly review into banking competition by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Mr Coleman expects to grill the big four bank executives again in March.

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