CBA has responded to a union’s claims that the bank’s pay model is pressuring staff, saying it is committed to reviewing its remuneration structure and will remove any potentially-conflicted commissions.
In a recent report, titled FSU Audit Report: Pay at CBA, the Finance Sector Union (FSU) called on CBA to abolish its remuneration structure because it is pressuring staff to push products that are not in customers’ best interests.
ifa reported in April that the Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA) had unveiled a raft of new consumer protection measures, which included a review of banks’ product sales commissions.
In response to the FSU report, a CBA spokesperson said, “CBA is fully committed to the ABA initiatives announced in April, one of which is an industry-wide review of remuneration and incentive models overseen by independent expert Ian McPhee AO, a former Commonwealth Auditor-General.
“If the review finds product-based sales commissions or payments, which could result in poor customer outcomes, they will be removed or changed. Following the completion of the review, CBA is committed to ensuring we have overarching remuneration principles that continue to support good customer outcomes.”
CBA also said that other claims in the FSU report, such as underpaying staff, do not correlate with the bank's own survey of 80 per cent of employees.
“As part of our compliance activity, we regularly conduct checks to ensure all our employees are paid at the higher of the relevant Enterprise Agreement [EA] or Banking, Finance and Insurance Award minimum rates,” a spokesperson said.
“In addition, despite not reaching agreement for a new EA, in 2015 the Group awarded a 3 per cent pay increase to everyone whose pay is regulated by the EA, provided they met minimum behaviour and compliance standards.”
According to anonymous quotes in the FSU report, some CBA employees feel pressured to recommend unnecessary products to customers.
“I have seen situations where staff felt pressure to push products and services to meet expectations that were not in the best interest of the client,” one comment noted.
Another respondent said that “by having a huge emphasis on bonuses, I feel it pushes people to focus predominantly on targets rather than the customer and level of service, which goes against the bank’s vision”.
FSU said the identity of the respondents is kept anonymous because the union has “no confidence in CBA’s whistleblower policy”.
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