Arbitrary screwing of sole traders and small businesses by financial institutions is a longstanding problem in AUstralia.
Now Australia's banks have doubled down on the reasons they believe they should not be required to tell customers or potential
customers why they can't have basic banking services. In most cases this is because the bank doesn't approve of several types of industry seemingly on the basis or morality.
According to the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise
Ombudsman, such businesses include cryptocurrency traders, brothels, individual sex workers and sex shops, tattoo parlours and precious metal traders. Cases have also been reported among firearms dealers, vaping retailers, mining companies and the
agriculture and farming sector.
A typical example was high-profile Sydney escort, Samantha X, who last year reported her long-standing account with ING had been shut down. When she asked for an explanation, she said she was told: We
can't tell you why sorry, it is a business decision. The ongoing issue was highlighted a year ago by independent reviewer Mike Callaghan, who was commissioned by the Australian Banking Association (ABA) to conduct the three-yearly review of the
banking industry's code of conduct. Callaghan rebuked the banks for what he called blanket denial of services seemingly with regard to the customer's occupation on the basis that they are concerned the AUSTRAC anti-money laundering provisions may come
The ABA's blunt response appears to be: No, we won't agree to change our practices, or tell businesses or individuals why they have had financial services denied or withdrawn, until we are forced to do so.