The banking report found about what most of us thought it might: nothing.

The Reserve Bank and Financial Markets Authority have been looking into banks' conduct, a highly subjective concept at the best of times.

They have found our banks are nothing like they are in Australia, so hopefully the conspiratorialists who argued that if it happened there, it must be happening here, can shuffle off and invent another imaginary scandal.


The report suggests the banks change their culture... what does that actually mean? The report found there was no widespread misconduct or poor culture issues, and yet they want them to change their culture?

There were practices that could leave the bank vulnerable to misconduct, sort of like, you're vulnerable when you cross the road. You haven't done anything, but you never know.

Was this a report that really needed doing? Are these points really worth making?

A total of 430,000 customers had been affected by what they call "banking issues", incorrectly charged fees and so on. Those are called, in my world, mistakes. They wouldn't appear to have anything to do with skulduggery, or culture.

I am sure you could find a similar series of mistakes in any large industry you want to look at. Telcos, airlines or anyone who deals with the public in large numbers.

The total cost of these mistakes is $23 million, but think about that in context with banking turnover, which is in the hundreds of billions. It's a 5-cent piece behind the sofa.

There was a survey of 2000 customers, 15 per cent felt they had been pressured into buying unwanted items. Is 15 per cent a crime? And what does "pressured" mean? Your pressured is not my pressured, once again highly subjective. Pressured, like you are in a shop to take out product insurance?

The good news is look at what was going on in Australia, and compare it to here. For an industry that covers so many people, deals in so many transactions, makes so many, if you entered this exercise with any sort of neutrality you'd have to conclude, this is a clean bill of health.


In fact you could argue this is a report in which the authors dreamed up a few pesky little bullet points so they didn't come back with literally nothing to say, and the charge that they had wasted everyone's time.

The specifics, such as they are, are the government should tighten regulations, and sales of product should not be incentivised. That's easily done, and I would doubt with any material affect to the way things operate.

The real lesson out of this for me is that we live in a world of far too many reports, inquiries, working groups, and conspiracies. Nice work if you can get it, but it's hardly a world of smoking guns.