Oz banking royal commission not a mellow brick road
The saga of Australia’s Royal Banking Commission has entered day 62 and it’s been one hell of a dark and dismal ride for the big four banks.
As reported in September, ANZ, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), National Australia Bank (NAB) and Westpac came under fire for their greed, lack of honesty and misconduct.
Other stories came and went, such as CBA charging the dead – but there were too many to mention and it was mainly left to the Aussie newspapers as it’s their turf.
In the latest chapter, the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reports that CBA’s scant record keeping could be a criminal offence, as the focus of the inquiry shifted to what the bank’s directors did to fix a series of scandals.
SMH explains that senior counsel assisting the commission Rowena Orr made the bombshell allegation during a hearing today (21 November) as CBA chairman Catherine Livingstone was giving evidence about how the board handled a money-laundering crisis.
In another claim Livingstone revealed CBA had asked former chairman David Turner to return 40% of his board fees from his final year as chairman but he refused to hand back the money.
The attempt to claw back Turner’s fees was not mentioned in the bank’s annual report.
CBA agreed to pay a $700 million penalty over the breaches earlier this year.
Elsewhere, ABC reports that attention has now turned to Westpac boss Brian Hartzer, especially the bank’s fees-for-no-service conduct in financial planning.
Westpac boss Brian Hartzer answered questions about how and why the bank ignored Australian Securities and Investments (ASIC) guidance on compliance with responsible lending provisions in car and credit card lending.
According to ABC, he ended the day explaining how the bank is remediating thousands of clients affected by the fees-for-no-service scandal.
We’ll be bringing updates now and then, but not every single detail.
When this is over the big four will still have to deal with all the Aussie challenger banks out there. Our comprehensive list is here.