on air now

Bank bosses face a grilling in Canberra over shocking misconduct

Two of Australia’s biggest banks have acknowledged the institutions took too long to address misconduct uncovered by a royal commission.

Commonwealth Bank CEO Matt Comyn and Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer have also admitted the banks have their work cut out for them to regain the public’s trust.

The sentiments emerged while the bosses were being grilled by federal politicians at a parliamentary hearing in Canberra on Thursday.

Mr Comyn, who took up the top job at the CBA six months ago, said the bank had been too slow to fix customer service problems because it had become complacent.

But Labor MP and Economics Committee Deputy Chair Matt Thistlethwaite is questioning why the bosses aren’t meeting with victims of the shocking misconduct.

He was at the hearing and tells Ross Greenwood many of the victims travelled to Canberra and watched on from the gallery.

“Their anger was palpable.

“Labor’s been calling for a royal commission for a couple of years now because we’ve known… that people people had been ripped off for too long.

“But at some point, we want to restore trust and confidence in our banking system.

“It’s vitally important to the health of the economy.”

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview 

Mr Thistlethwaite says the bank bosses “seemed genuinely shocked by the evidence”.

“They’ve all accepted that they were wrong to oppose the royal commission for as long as they did.

“They do want the cultural change within the organisations and they want to make sure that the systems are in place to make sure that these scandals and ripoffs don’t happen again.

“But I think they’ve got to do a little bit more in terms of dealing with some of the issues.”