Bank responds to ABC's 7:30 Report on Business Banking

26 August 2004

The Bank has complained strongly to the Director of News and Current Affairs at the ABC over an item in the 7:30 Report on 11 August.

We consider that the critical report of the Bank was enabled by the selective omission of information, by failure to undertake adequate research and by incorrect editorial comments by their reporter.

Despite being advised emphatically that the Bank was not withdrawing business banking services from regional NSW, the report said the Bank was cutting 600 regional jobs. This is not true. The program also included a local businessman commenting on the impact of the changes in Grafton. The 7:30 Report did not seek to verify this statement. In fact, there are no changes to the Bank’s business banking arrangements at Grafton.

The Bank has also complained that to open the program that night with negative comments from a Bank staff member without telling viewers up front that she was the Federal President of the Finance Sector Union was blatantly misleading and mischievous in intent.

The CEO, David Murray, had offered to appear on the program that night, an offer that was declined on the basis that The 7.30 Report was likely to be taken up with other items (unspecified). The representative of the program did not have the courtesy to inform us that an item on the Bank was scheduled to air.

The Bank has asked for a letter of apology from the program that we can distribute to staff and clarify any concerns that they may have on the incorrect reporting.