Treasury admits bank levy hit to customers

June 16, 2017

Executives at Australia's biggest banks have urged senators to consider changes to the bank levy.

Bank chiefs are set to front a Senate inquiry in Canberra to argue against the government's proposed $6.2 billion levy.

The levy is set to apply to five big banks with total liabilities over $100 billion from July 1.

Representatives from Westpac, ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB, Macquarie and the Australian Bankers Association will front the hearing, seeking to amend the bill if not head it off altogether.

The banks say there should be a sunset clause on the legislation when the federal budget returns to surplus and want it imposed on foreign banks if it is to go ahead.

They also say there should be a mechanism to suspend the levy if a bank is under financial stress and the liability base should be narrowed to ensure banks have enough liquidity in place to see out tough times.

Banks say the levy will need to be passed on to either customers, employees, shareholders or suppliers.

Labor supports the levy, which is expected to pass the Senate next week.

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