Call for better indigenous bank focus

Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen wants to see banks serving indigenous people's needs better.
Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen wants to see banks serving indigenous people's needs better.

Australian bankers and wealth-building services should focus more on how they can better cater to indigenous people, shadow treasurer Chris Bowen says.

Mr Bowen says if Labor wins the next federal election he'll speak more with the financial services industry about lifting the economic engagement of indigenous Australians.

That comes after the banking royal commission raised harrowing examples of where indigenous disadvantage was seen as an opportunity for exploitation.

Many indigenous people also struggle to navigate the superannuation system, Mr Bowen told a business event in Sydney on Tuesday.

"How our financial services system caters for our first people and the role of the financial services industry in closing the gap on indigenous disadvantage is not a big part of our national conversation," he says.

"I'd like it to be much more."

The First Nations Foundation last week called on the federal government and finance sector to fund a new centre to help indigenous Australians better engage with the industry and build wealth.

Almost half of indigenous Australians are currently excluded from the system, the organisation says.

"A First Nations Financial Centre will include financial education, access to advice and for the first time in history create a path to economic security and freedom for indigenous Australians," chief executive Amanda Young said.

Australian Associated Press