Originally published in ABC The Drum on June 5, 2009

Recent research by the Australia Institute reveals the extent of community mistrust of the financial sector. Indeed, a large majority of adult Australians hold banks and other financial institutions responsible for the current debt crisis. Although many people believe that personal responsibility in financial decision making is important, there is broad consensus that the banking sector has lost the element of social responsibility that tempered lending practices in the past. Around three in four respondents to a nationwide survey agreed that “banks are too willing to lend money to people who can’t afford the repayments”. Reform to consumer credit that simplifies decision-making, and makes relevant information easier to find, will help to ease the disquiet that many people feel about the way financial providers manipulate their customers.

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