Banks assume role of moral compass for legitimate businesses - ombudsman

THE Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell said banks were wrong to discriminate against legitimate small businesses in the adult industry by blocking their access to essential financial services.

“My office is continuously contacted by sex workers who have complained they have been denied banking services such as merchant facilities to allow them to conduct their business,” Ms Carnell said.

“This is an ongoing issue and we have expressed our concerns to the Australian Banking Association and individual banks involved. There aren’t too many Australians who would rely on banks to be the moral arbiter for society.

“An EROS Association report found that financial services providers were treating adults-only businesses unfavourably on the basis of broad internal policies against the sex industry rather than tailored assessments of financial risk," Ms Carnell said.

“These actions are not only unfair, they are undermining efforts to combat the black economy. Bank accounts and financial services are essential for any legal business to operate.

“There are an estimated 25,000 people employed in the adult industry, which has an annual turnover of $2.6 billion.

“I encourage sex workers who feel they have been discriminated against by a financial service provider to contact ASBFEO for assistance.”


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