Left Menu
Development News Edition

UPDATE 1-'No more apologies': barrister tells Australian bank chiefs

The CEO of Commonwealth Bank of Australia told a public inquiry into financial-sector misconduct on Monday that senior staff had felt powerless to stop wrongdoing including thousands of breaches of anti-money laundering laws.

Matt Comyn was the first chief executive of a top bank to be grilled at the powerful Royal Commission inquiry which has shocked Australia with revelations of widespread misconduct across the financial industry since it began in February.

The heads of Westpac Banking Corp, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, National Australia Bank , investment bank Macquarie Group Ltd and wealth manager AMP Ltd are due to appear at the commission's final scheduled hearings over the next two weeks.

Comyn, who replaced Ian Narev in the wake of the money-laundering scandal in April, was given a frosty welcome when Rowena Orr, barrister assisting the quasi-judicial inquiry, opened proceedings saying she wanted "no more apologies" from bank executives, only explanations.

Australians have grown accustomed to hearing apologies from the heads of the country's wealthiest financial firms in response to the inquiry's evidence of bribery, fraud, fee-gouging, predatory sales tactics, greed, and deception.

Under questioning from Orr, Comyn said that when a regulator accused the bank of systemic complacency resulting in thousands of breaches of anti-money laundering protocols, he wrote to his top 500 staff asking for their views.

Staff wrote back expressing overwhelming "disappointment, embarrassment, very much an acceptance of some of the key issues that were there, in terms of our inability to escalate (or) resolve conflict", he said.

Orr read a response to Comyn from CBA's compliance boss, who said she felt "'vindicated and relieved in relation to comments concerning risk management and culture, which reflected what the team was feeling and saying for some time now'".

"These are troubling observations from the head of compliance within a retail bank. Do you agree with that, Mr Comyn?" Orr asked.

"Yes I do," Comyn said.

The inquiry is expected to recommend sweeping reform of the financial sector when it hands its final report to the government in February, particularly around the use of conflicted bonuses and incentives that have been found to encourage staff to exploit customers.

Comyn said he wanted to replace bonuses for mortgage brokers with flat fees, to stop brokers selling loans larger than people could afford to repay.

But he said the mortgage broker industry would not support him and CBA would not be able to do it alone without action from the other major banks.

"Unilaterally it would be extremely challenging," he said.

CBA has said it cut A$60 million ($43.8 million) from executive bonuses, while Comyn has said the bank has cut A$100 million in overall annual bonuses since the middle of the year.

Asked how much service mortgage brokers gave in exchange for trailing commissions, which are paid over the life of an investment whether the customer receives advice or not, Comyn said "limited".

The response generated laughter in the inquiry's packed public gallery. ($1 = 1.3687 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Byron Kaye and Paulina Duran; Editing by Stephen Coates)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



What happens to your outstanding loans if the bank falls?

... ...

Time for a change! Innovations to stop the growing plastic pollution

As the planet is drowning in plastic pollution, many new innovative approaches and solutions have emerged to effectively deal with the menace....

How to avoid fake universities and fishing bait like Farmington

As education sharks are roaming around to prey, we present a guide on how to mitigate hunters and reach to a genuine universityinstitute. In this era of commercialization of education, the fake universities and economic frauds in educationa...

How India is being pushed towards commercialization of higher education

The reluctance of the present dispensation in pushing the higher education towards commercialization is not just limited to the fees hike in Jawaharlal Nehru University JNU. It seems the government is gradually implementing a plan which is ...


Latest News

Browns' Mayfield 'looked good' in return to practice

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield was back at practice Thursday after a one-day absence to rest his bruised right hand. Wearing a wrap on his throwing hand, according to reporters who attended practice, Mayfield looked good, per h...

BRIEF-CVC In Talks With FIFA About Acquiring Rights To Club World Cup - FT


UPDATE 3-U.S. says Iran may have killed more than 1,000 in recent protests

Iranian security forces may have killed more than 1,000 people, the top U.S. diplomat for Iran said on Thursday, since protests over gasoline price hikes began in mid-November, a crackdown U.S. President Donald Trump described as horrible. ...

UPDATE 1-Soccer-Everton sack manager Silva after derby humbling

Everton have sacked manager Marco Silva, the Premier League club said on Thursday, the day after the team slipped into the relegation zone following a humiliating 5-2 defeat by Merseyside rivals Liverpool.Silva, who arrived at Goodison Park...

Give Feedback