Consumers tipped to pay the price for banking feuds

Just last week, Australians with home loans were boosted by the news that one of the country's biggest lenders is to pay the exit fees of customers currently signed up to its rivals.

However, while the treasurer Wayne Swan has welcomed this new sense of competition between retail banks, documents released to the Sydney Morning Herald under the Freedom of Information Act suggest that the future may not be quite so promising for consumers with home loans or current accounts.

Indeed, the documents show that the government was warned several months ago that any move to ban exit fees could force banks to look for revenue elsewhere, with customers unwilling or unable to switch current accounts or home loans likely to pay the price.

"While attractive from a competition perspective, the introduction of account number portability would likely impose significant upfront costs on financial institutions, employers and retailers, which would be passed on to consumers," an email sent to the Treasury reportedly said.

Highlighting this new sense of competition within the sector, Commonwealth Bank has launched a new advertising campaign advising consumers not to get 'nabbed', referring to National Australia Bank's own initiative.

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