Research paid for, in part, by National Australia Bank and undertaken by the Centre for Social Impact
already provides a portrait of access or otherwise to banking services in Australia. Thus, the data – available on the CSI website – may already provide some of the data the Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation, Bill Shorten, wants banks to provide.
The centre's 2012 report found that 1.1 per cent of all adults were "fully excluded" (meaning they had no financial services products). The centre's analysis found that 16.1 per cent of adults were "severely excluded" (meaning they only had one financial services product).
The centre's analysis suggests that 2.995 million people are thus excluded from reasonable access to financial products in Australia, up from an estimated 2.65 million people who were in this position two years earlier.
The centre found that the average annual cost of a basic financial services package for an individual is A$1794, although only $88 of this cost covers a basic bank account.
The remainder of the cost of this basic package is split between the costs of servicing a low-cost credit card and general insurance.
The centre's data did not explicitly address one theme raised by the minister in a speech on Wednesday night. He proposed banks be compelled to show which areas commonly missed out on loans. This is the practice known as "redlining" in the United States.
The Australian Bankers Association voiced its opposition to any form of detailed reporting on location-based lending yesterday, citing the risk of political pressure to provide loans to borrowers in favoured locations.