Consumer Confidence Critical says Banking Chief

October 3, 2013 by Michelle Coleman
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Ian Narev, CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), said yesterday that the new government must work to bolster consumer confidence for the Australian economy to flourish.

Leon Kempler and Ian Narev

Leon Kempler and Ian Narev

The head of Australia’s largest bank was the guest speaker at an Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce Luncheon in Melbourne, having returned the previous day from an Abbott-led delegation to Indonesia.

Narev expressed his surprise at the positive sentiment towards Australia and its economic future that he encountered while overseas. He said that this same confidence could be kick-started in Australia by providing a new more positive economic narrative to local business, a shift in the role of businesses from focussing on what’s good for them to emphasising what’s good for Australia, and encouraging innovation for the future, both in terms of technology and human capital.

“The new narrative is that the conditions that caused the mining boom in investment have come back a bit but the challenge that we have is… what aspects of non-mining investment can we grow to offset this? The time is now right to have the long-term conversation,” he said.

Narev said that early signs showed that the government was taking up this narrative and that we will see a steady building of confidence.

From the Commonwealth Bank’s perspective, the CEO said the bank would do its bit to build confidence in the economy by doing its utmost to provide stability for both customers and shareholders.

“The headline is: understand that you are here to serve your customers and serve your shareholders, have the humility to be conscious of that, and innovate for the future,” he said.

Narev concluded by saying that if the banking sector got this right, confidence would improve and the prospects for Australia would be bright.

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