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Bank chiefs face virus response questions

The chiefs of two of Australia’s biggest banks will be quizzed on their response to households and businesses hit hard by the coronavirus-driven recession.

ANZ’s Shayne Elliott and CBA’s Matt Comyn will appear via videoconference at a parliamentary economics committee hearing on Friday.

Committee chair Tim Wilson said banks needed to be held to account over the extent of their support for consumers during the pandemic.

The inquiry is expected to shed light on the consequences of mortgage and small and medium business loan deferrals, and the potential for reform of “responsible lending” laws.

It will also be an opportunity for the banks to update the public on their response to the royal commission into financial sector misconduct.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told parliament this week the flow of credit would be critical to Australia recovering from the recession.

The economy shrank seven per cent in the June quarter because of the COVID-19 pandemic, officially confirming the nation is in the first recession in three decades.

More than $200 billion of loans have been deferred through the crisis.

But there is evidence some of those allowed deferrals have started repayments as the economy recovers.

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