Banks respond after "day of shame"

Banks and associations have been responding to the interim report of the Royal Commission

Banks respond after "day of shame"


By Rebecca Pike

The banks and associations have reacted to the release of the Royal Commission interim report. 

Released Friday afternoon (28 September), the interim report followed six rounds of public hearings in the Royal Commission into banking misconduct.  

Commissioner Kenneth Hayne handed the report over to the governor-general on Friday morning and this was then released to the public around 2.30pm.  

The Australian Banking Association (ABA) called it “a day of shame for Australia’s banks”. 

In a statement the group said, “There are no excuses for the behaviour that has been exposed by the Royal Commission. 

“Banks accept responsibility for their failures and right now they are working day and night to make things right for their customers. 

“We will fix these problems and make them right without delay, to earn back the trust of the Australian public. 

“We will build a banking industry which acts with integrity and is once again respected by our customers and the Australian community.  

“The industry will respond to the specific findings in the Interim Report through a submission in the coming weeks.” 

"A critical moment for the industry” 

ANZ was the first to respond to the report. The major lender was questioned during the Royal Commission hearings over the use of the HEM benchmark and admitted to “at least 20 events of misconduct or conduct falling below community standards and expectations in relation to home lending and residential mortgages”. 

ANZ chief executive officer Shayne Elliott commented after the release saying, “This is a critical moment for the industry, our bank and our people to continue the urgent work required to fix the significant failures highlighted by the Commission. We ­accept responsibility and we are determined to improve. 

“ANZ is taking action to fast-track changes – leadership, strategic, systems, people and cultural. We will make the investments required to build a bank worthy of the trust and respect of our customers and the community. 

“While this work is well underway, there is more to do and today’s report clearly sets out the damage we can do when we fail our customers. 

“We will analyse the report in detail and respond directly to the Commissioner. We will also continue to engage constructively through the remainder of the process.” 

“Confronting and rightly critical” 

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) also said it would provide a more comprehensive response once it had read the report in its entirety.  

In the meantime, Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO Matt Comyn said, “The Royal Commission’s Interim Report released today is confronting and rightly critical of our industry and our bank. We have seen too many examples of unacceptable behaviour and unacceptable customer outcomes. 

“The Commission has highlighted the need for significant changes, particularly to systems, processes and culture. I am committed to making sure that we learn from the failures detailed in this report to fix what went wrong and put things right for our customers.” 

"We know we still have more work to do” 

Westpac said it would be responding with a submission to the Royal Commission. 

CEO Brian Hartzer said, “This report marks a significant step in the Royal Commission process. We’re reviewing it carefully and are focused on learning from the mistakes of the past and preventing them from happening again. 

“The Royal Commission has identified many examples of misconduct across the industry. I apologise to any customers who have been impacted by mistakes that we have made. 

“While we’ve introduced a number of reforms, including to our remuneration structures, our approaches to dealing with customer issues and removing grandfathered commissions attributable to BT products, we know we still have more work to do.” 

“We will own them and fix them” 

NAB CEO Andrew Thorburn said he has read the summary and will review the report over the weekend. 

He added, “I would like to thank the Commissioner for his thoroughness and diligence. 

“For us at NAB, where we have made mistakes or done the wrong thing, we will own them and fix them.   

“It is difficult to face the statement of ‘profits before people’, but this is exactly what we need to confront. Banking was built on putting people first and earning the trust of customers. We must return to these principles once again, rather than continuing to be short term managers.” 

"We know we have to do more"

Acting CEO at AMP also responded to the report. The bank received a lot of grilling during the hearings.

Mike Wilkins said, "Since April, under the direction of new leadership, AMP has reset our business to accelerate positive changes in culture, governance, regulatory reporting and performance.

"AMP is focused on ensuring that adherence to the law, meeting community expectations and the best interests of our customers are fundamental to our culture and governance. We are also committed to ensuring that our ongoing engagement with ASIC and other regulators is forthright and honest.

"We are accelerating remediation to ensure affected customers are appropriately compensated as quickly as possible.

"We know we have more to do and we are committed to doing it."

The report is extensive and the AMP Board and management are carefully reviewing it in line with the Commission’s processes.

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