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HomeNewsKarl Stefanovic clashes with banking boss on Today show over rate rises

Karl Stefanovic clashes with banking boss on Today show over rate rises

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Today show host Karl Stefanovic has butted heads with one of Australia’s top banking bosses during a heated interview on Thursday morning.

CEO of the Australian Banking Association Anna Bligh appeared on the program in the wake of the RBA issuing its ninth consecutive rate hike this week, increasing the baseline rate by a further 25 basis points to 3.35 per cent.

Stefanovic, who had already made his displeasure with “greedy” big banks known, didn’t hold back when speaking with Ms Bligh this morning.

Straight out of the gate, the morning show host referenced a headline in The Daily Telegraph calling the country’s banking bosses a “bunch of bankers”.

“That’s about right isn’t it?” he asked.

Ms Bligh said it was fair to say that Australians were “really starting to feel the pinch” of high inflation and high interest rates.

“But that’s precisely what the Reserve Bank is trying to do. They’re trying to change our behaviour so that they can pull inflation back. That is going to be very uncomfortable for many, many people,” she said.

“But until we start to see inflation come back, monetary policy is designed to make things uncomfortable so that we stop spending, slow demand in the economy, bring inflation back and then we can start to see interest rates stabilise and hopefully start to come back down.”

Stefanovic then questioned: “So the banks are just doing it for the country now?”

Mr Bligh claimed that was “a cynical way to say it”, adding that if the Reserve Bank can’t get inflation down, they will have to keep putting rates up.

She encouraged listeners to shop around for a better rate for their loan and to talk to their bank if they feel they might be in trouble.

“They’ve got a lot of tools in the tool kit. They’re there to get people through this. The last thing they want is to see people in trouble,” she said.

Things became even more heated when Stefanovic questioned whether the banks were “expanding profits by manipulating the pace of reductions and rises”.

“No. Banks, of course, make a profit,” Ms Bligh responded.

Stefanovic then cut in, asking: “Sorry, is that a no, they’ve aren’t expanding profits or is that a yes, they are expanding profits?”

Ms Bligh noted that they hadn’t seen the profit announcements for Australia’s banks before the TV host cut in again saying: “Let’s take a guess”.

“Hundreds of billions?” he said.

Ms Bligh responded by noting that the banks will make a “healthy profit”, but said it was a “good thing” for the country.

“Their profits are going into your superannuation fund and the superannuation funds of hundreds of thousands of Australians and I don’t think Australia wants an economy with failing banks,” she said.

“Forgive me for not celebrating,” Stefanovic replied.

This heated exchange comes after Stefanovic unleashed on the RBA and big banks in a savage rant on Wednesday morning.

The banks were quick to pass on Tuesday’s interest rate hike to customers, with ANZ and NAB being the first of the big four to make the move.

“I’m completely off the RBA and the big banks this morning,” Stefanovic said during the first hour of the show on Wednesday.

“Hard working Australians are being let down.”

He then turned his attention to the major banks, suggesting with a sarcastic tone that they have abandoned their community-focused image.

“What about our banks this morning? Our kind hearted, community-focused banks, you’ve all seen the ads, ‘We care about you, we see you’,” he said.

“But how much do they really care? Do you remember during the pandemic when we had rate cuts, the banks seldom passed them on, and now they‘re like greedy moths to the flame, eating away at your savings, eating into your standard of living, eating into your future.

“They should be ashamed of themselves.”

– with NCA NewsWire

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