Commercial banks have put half the country in debt bondage. Their enormous profits – nearly $27 billion last year for the “Big 4” alone – mostly come from homeowners paying off their mortgages, but also from criminally high interest charges on credit cards. On top of that, the banks make profitable investments using the money from individuals’ savings accounts, while paying interest on those savings at well below the rate of inflation, allowing the real value of the deposits to erode over time. Basically, banks are taking wealth from workers and distributing it as profits to their owners. We need a bank that is instead run in the public interest; one that provides security for workers’ savings, funds socially useful infrastructure, provides working people credit for housing at a reasonable, below-market rate and whose profits are put back into the community, rather than into the pockets of billionaires.
What we think
- Wages should be high enough, and quality public infrastructure and services plentiful enough, that working people shouldn’t need to access credit to meet basic needs such as housing, food, utilities, healthcare and education.
- When workers do need to access credit, it should be at a reasonable and affordable rate.
- Private financial institutions have a primary responsibility to their wealthy owners, rather than the public. They cannot be trusted.
- Banking should be a public service administered for the benefit of working people and the common good, not an exercise in private profit-making.
What we'll fight for
- Establish a State Bank of Victoria, whose charter will mandate that it protect savings and lend according to criteria encompassing the interests of society as a whole, rather than the narrow, profit-driven criteria of commercial banks. This means a bank that:
- Returns revenues above operating costs to a government fund to finance the construction of public housing and other infrastructure and amenities.
- Offers owner-occupier home loans at below market rates
- Does not offer loans to residential property investors.
- Offers priority lending for:
- Public housing construction.
- Projects for electricity generation from renewable sources.
- Water management projects devoted to maintaining the health of the Murray-Darling and other river systems.
- Public infrastructure.
- High value manufacturing proposals providing high-waged work under union negotiated agreements.