The chief executive of a big four bank says actions, not words, will be required to right the wrongs that have occurred within the organisation over a 10-year period.
In his opening statement to a parliamentary committee in Canberra this morning, CBA chief Matt Comyn conceded that Australia’s largest and most profitable bank has been “too slow to identify problems, too slow to fix underlying problems and too slow to put things right by customers.”
“Our customers and the community rightly expect that we always do the right thing. But we have seen far too many instances of unacceptable customer outcomes. As the royal commission hearings have shown, there have been failures of judgement, failures of process, failures of leadership and, in some instances, greed,” Mr Comyn said. “We became complacent.”
His comments come after CBA this week revealed plans to overhaul its wealth management processes, including changes to remuneration practices. CBA will rebate grandfathered commissions and any fees charged for no service to customers.
Earlier this morning, Mr Comyn was asked by the committee’s deputy chair, Labor MP Matt Thistlethwaite, how an organisation with some of the highest paid senior managers in the country managed to get itself into a situation where it has become so tarnished and damaged.
“[Executives] of this organisation who were being paid big bonuses were alerted to some of these issues over eight or nine years ago but they didn’t act. You didn’t act until the regulators got involved, the media got involved and the royal commission delved into them. Why should we accept now that things have changed when you have had a decade to get them right and you didn’t?” Mr Thistlethwaite asked.
Mr Comyn said he understands the community’s scepticism. He accepted that CBA was wrong to oppose a royal commission.
“We did, as an organisation, become complacent. We made too many mistakes. We were too slow to acknowledge and get to the root cause of those mistakes,” he said. “Success dulled our senses.”
More to come.
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