Against all the odds, Australia held a royal commission into the banking and financial services industries. Its revelations rocked the nation. Even defenders of the banks were blindsided.
There is rarely a day that goes past when you won’t see an article in a newspaper or online about what new schemes the banks are involved in. These institutions have our money, so we’re rightly concerned about what happens with that money. But for many of us, we live under the assumption that the banks know best, and that they have our best interests at heart. I know I definitely had this misguided belief. But reading Adele Ferguson’s Banking Bad has shown me that this statement couldn’t be further from the truth.
As a key player in bringing about the royal commission into the banking and financial services industries, Adele Ferguson is one of the few people who can speak with authority on this contentious subject. Banking Bad goes back as far as the late 1980’s, through to today’s headlines, and tells the full story of the power imbalance, and just how Australia’s banking and financial services became so corrupt. This book tells the stories of bankers, whistleblowers and victims of the banks themselves, who had no ground to stand on when they discovered that everything they had worked so hard to save was gone, and in its place were outrageous bank fees and forged documentation saying they had agreed to certain contract terms.
I cannot even begin to count the amount of times I shook my head in shock while reading this book. As referenced in the book itself, the saying ‘When profit is the only motive, all forms of corrupt and immoral behaviour can be rationalised’ is shown to be not only true, but rife within our banking systems. Adele finishes her book asking the questions of what happens now? She shares the principles that were outlined in the final royal commission report, noting that these principles will only be effective if they are enforced rigorously and the people in power are willing to make the tough choices to have fear of repercussion override greed.
Adele is one of Australia’s most awarded journalists and her investigation has changed the way we need to look at banking and the financial sector. Will it all be business as usual from now on, or have our financial executives learned that their wealth cannot come at the expense of ordinary Australians? Adele Ferguson’s Banking Bad is the book that everyone needs to read.
About the author
Adele Ferguson is a multi-award-winning senior business writer and columnist for The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Financial Review. She is a regular guest reporter on ABC’s Four Corners and 7.30, and is the author of the bestselling unauthorised biography Gina Rinehart: The untold story of the richest woman in the world.With more than 20 years’ experience, Adele is one of Australia’s most awarded journalists. She has received eight Walkley awards, including a Gold Walkley for her joint Fairfax Media and Four Corners program ‘Banking Bad’; two Gold Quill Awards, including one for her exposé of CBA’s CommInsure; two Gold Kennedy Awards; a Logie; and the Graham Perkin Journalist of the Year award. Her series of investigations into the banks over the past five years helped bring about the royal commission into the sector. She was recognised for services to journalism with an AM in 2019.