There is not much to say about the content of this article detailing the unsurprising ways that Australian banks have been doing business—”lying to regulators, falsifying documents and taking bribes to extracting fees from customers long since dead.” Australian banks are apparently lightly regulated, and Australian bankers have taken advantage of that. No surprise anywhere on the globe at this.
What needs pointing out are the article’s two subheadings: “Bribery, lies, and charging the dead among misconduct admitted,” and “Inquiry may lead to slower earnings growth, higher costs.” Because obviously the most important thing, after the facts of the story, is not that people lost homes, retirees lost savings, and no one caught on for decades, but that the highly profitable Australian banking sector might have to follow some appropriate rules, making it less of a draw for investors for whom ethical business practices just get in the way of a payday.
It’s a given that profits are negatively impacted by getting caught doing something wrong; pointing it out as the key concept of a news story just normalizes it in a way that really should end.
On Monday, May 9, the Massachusetts House adopted an extension order H 4383 by Rep. Aaron Michlewitz granting the Joint Committee on Financial Services until Wednesday, May 9 to make its final report on H3543, establishing the Massachusetts infrastructure bank. So the public has about a month to reach out to the committee and show their support.
Mayors, city council members, town or city managers, planning or economic development or project board members—we need you! Please contact the chairs of the Joint Committee to let them know the importance of lower-cost financing for the projects that you have done or wish to do in order to improve quality of life for your municipality’s residents.
Voters, if your state Senator or Representative is a member of the Committee, please give them a call as well.
You can find names and contact info, as well as some background on the legislation, in this post.
You can access the bill text here.
We have posted some supporting information on the bill, including a look at the difference between an infrastructure bank and revolving loan funds, how the bank could help build resilience in the face of climate change, and a look at similar campaigns in other states. We are also happy to answer your questions, so please contact us.