What is the 'Australian Bankers Association (ABA)'

The Australian Bankers Association (ABA) is an advocacy group for its member banks doing business in Australia.

BREAKING DOWN 'Australian Bankers Association (ABA)'

The Australian Bankers Association (ABA), now known as the Australian Banking Association, serves as a government advocacy group for the Australian banking industry.

An association of banks that work on behalf of its member financial institutions to provide analysis and advice on public policy regarding banking and financial firms. It also works within its member organization to improve the quality of service that banks and other financial institutions provide. As with similar organizations in other countries, the ABA seeks to guide the regulatory environment to ensure any regulations support both customers and banking institutions. The work includes assisting with the development of standards and practices for the industry and addressing any current, high-priority policy issues facing the financial sector.

The ABA began in the 1940s in opposition to government efforts to nationalize the Australian banking system. A major restructuring in 1985 combined the organization with the Australian Banking Association-Research Directorate and the Banking Education Service, broadening the scope of its efforts in order to represent the interests of all licensed banks in the country. Today, the association represents 24 member banks in interactions with the public, the news media and government entities.

The ABA's Current Public Policy Goals

Current public policy goals supported by the ABA include cooperative development of best practices in the anti-fraud arena, as well as reform of Australia’s tax system. Efforts to increase the accessibility of banking for customers include advocacy for better coordination across rural areas of the country, in particular as the nation seeks to assist troubled farmers. Resources for small businesses and a general push for improved financial education among Australian citizens also fall under the organization’s purview.

The association works with individual banks to improve their corporate culture in areas such as suitability standards for serving customer interests above those of the banks themselves, as well as fair treatment of employees with regard to payment incentive practices and whistleblower protections. The ABA’s government-oriented advocacy includes areas of fiscal policy, such as the maintenance of international standards for liquidity, available capital, and other measures intended to reduce risks for banking customers. Other consumer-oriented efforts include potential regulations in the area of dispute resolution, disclosure rules aimed at providing greater transparency for both business and retail customers, and improving protections around the collection and use of customers’ material private information.

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