ACCC is trying, at least on the face of it, to restore its authority. It says that its research shows that “competition between the big four banks has been muted at best. They tend to accommodate each other rather than competing strongly to win market share. Therefore any acquisition of a rival or potential rival by any of the big four needs to be very closely considered.”
That implies that ACCC sees Noo Finance as a tool to break up an implied cartel – without regard to the basic truth that banks trade in money and that the price of money is set by the market (even if it is a corrupt market as happened, for a time, with LIBOR) or by central banks. It is also without regard to the fact that banks have been at the forefront of technological development for decades. And it is without regard to the fact that banks are not allowed to invest their customer’s money in their own business development.
When ACCC says that the banks have been developing their own tech, it is with their hands tied behind their backs. It’s not as if online or telephone banking is anything new, nor as if the launch of a bank relying on the internet or telephone banking is new. And history shows that, even when those are services developed by banks, they have a relatively short and troubled life. History bodes badly for the FinTech sector and those who are still in it when no one wants them any more.
And so, more and more businesses are started, without the systems and controls that would be needed if they were honest about their business activities. Banking is banking and regulators should not shy away from that, even if hashtag warriors disagree.