Australian Banking Association chief Anna Bligh AC gave a salient insight into consumer trust at the recent National Farmers Federation’s 2030 Leaders Summit.
Reflecting on the findings and fall-out from the Banking Royal Commission, the former Queensland Premier said consumers were increasingly interested in how all industries go about their business and what drives them.
“The customer and the consumers view of the world has radically and dramatically changed and it’s changed forever,” Ms Bligh said.
“They (consumers) are not only going to be interested in what you do, they’re going to be interested in how you do it and what motivates you to do it and how all of that then impacts the final product or service to them.”
“It’s changed not only for your sector [agriculture], but for all sectors of the economy,” Ms Bligh said.
The Financial Services Royal Commission scrutinised the conduct of the finance sector in the provision of banking, superannuation and financial services.
Ms Bligh stressed that customer’s growing access to data and other sensitive information had increased the requirement for ‘transparency’.
“Current consumer trends indicate that there is a growing demand for transparency, especially from national bodies and large organisations.”
Ms Bligh said people no longer relied on the ‘traditional pillars’ of society such as legislative courts, governments or churches for the ‘truth’.
Alongside this demand, Ms Bligh said consumers were also calling for large scale organisations and bodies to be held more accountable for their actions.
During these times of uncertainty where there is a clear disconnect between the business and industry community and consumers, Ms Bligh said it was important to think about doing things differently.
“The challenge, I think, for both banks and the agriculture sector in the climate that we’re both in is do both parties lean in to some of the risks that need to be taken in order to realise the potential that’s in front of us,” Ms Bligh said.
“What this is likely to require is very big cultural shifts from both sides, the challenge is for both groups to think differently and to act differently as a result.
Speaking from agriculture’s point of view, National Farmers’ Federation President Fiona Simson agreed.
“Agriculture was a partnership between farmers and those who created the demand for their produce.
“This is a partnership that needs to be nurtured.
“Farmers take meeting community expectations very seriously.
“At the heart of this is, is agriculture being as open and transparent as we can.
“Where agriculture is found to be out of step with community expectations that we commit to doing better.
“Really, it’s a journey that we’ve been on with the community since farming began,” Ms Simson said.
See NFF’s We Are Australian Farmers initiative designed to better connect farmers with their urban customers.
Click here to watch Anna Bligh’s full presentation.