The Australian, September 7, 2016
Small Business Ombudsman Kate Carnell has hit the phones and spoken to MPs across the political divide ahead of her inquiry into alleged unconscionable behaviour towards small business customers by banks.
Ms Carnell has also clarified “misconceptions” about what powers she has outside of the inquiry, saying she cannot stop the banks from foreclosing or repossessing assets. “Royal commission-like powers” will be used to compel a person to appear before hearings and to force banks to produce documents after the government asked the ombudsman to “forensically examine” unacceptable conduct by the banks in a bid to neutralise Bill Shorten’s calls for a banking royal commission.
Ms Carnell will deal solely with cases outlined by the parliamentary joint committee on corporations and financial services but as part of her day-to-day operations she can also look into other cases impacting small businesses.