Bank's 'significant failures' revealed in royal commission filing

Australia's big four banks have each catalogued 10 years of misconduct.

  • Ten years of bank misconduct catalogued in submissions to royal commission
  • ANZ CEO: Our submission shows "significant failures"
  • Victims can now submit case studies to royal commission

"Significant failures" detailed in a big bank's submission to the royal commission has led to its CEO explaining to staff why the highest form of inquiry is needed.

Commissioner Kenneth Hayne gave the big four banks until 29 January to hand in submissions summarising ten years of misconduct and behaviour that fell below community standards.

The chief executive of ANZ addressed staff after reviewing the bank's submission, a damaging document cataloguing what went wrong, how it was fixed and why they believe it won't happen again.

"Our submission shows we've had significant failures over the last decade," says chief executive Shayne Elliott, in his 2000-word address to staff.

"Although many of the issues in our submission are known and have been or are being fixed – seeing them all in one document is confronting."

He acknowledged not all of the information in the submission is known to the public, and that the misconduct stemmed from the bank's culture.

"It would be easy to lay the blame on a few bad apples or to say that these are largely historical technical glitches resulting from large complex IT systems. That would be wrong.

"It's completely unacceptable that we have caused some of our customers financial harm and emotional stress."

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Trust in banks has eroded because of exorbitant profit margins, executive bonuses, conflicts of interests, expensive fees and poor customer service, says Elliott.

"My hope is the royal commission serves as a watershed moment in restoring the trust of customers and the community," he says.

Commissioner Hayne requested the big banks submit the summaries in late December, mandating they be no longer than 50 pages each.

They were to identify whether "any conduct by financial services entities (including by directors, officers or employees of, or by anyone acting on behalf of those entities) might have amounted to misconduct".

The banks were to also summarise if "any conduct, practices, behaviour or business activities by financial services entities fall below community standards and expectations".

The submissions follow a slew of enforcement actions in the financial services industry, as well as a scathing report detailing the conflicts of interests that lead to financial advisors recommending unsatisfactory products.

Victims of financial misconduct are being invited to submit their cases using an online form on mortgages, insurance, superannuation and more.

The commission is to hold its first hearing in less than a fortnight on 12 February.