Home / World News / Banking royal fee: Commonwealth Bank chief Matt Comyn admits bank’s greed, failures but promises change

Banking royal fee: Commonwealth Bank chief Matt Comyn admits bank’s greed, failures but promises change

The head of the Commonwealth Bank has admitted greed has undermined the institution and hurt its millions of customers.

In front of an at-times heated appearance before the House of Representative’s economics committee, CBA chief executive Matt Comyn conceded there had been too many failures across the bank for too long.

“There have unfortunately been failures of judgment, failures of process, failures of leadership, and in some instances, greed,” he said.

“We’ve been too slow to identify problems, too slow to fix underlying issues, and too slow to put things right for customers.

“We became complacent.”

The committee is hearing from all four major bank chief executives in the wake of the interim report of the financial services royal commission.

The commission was scathing of the banks, accusing them of allowing greed to determine their interaction with customers.

Mr Comyn, who took over at the CBA six months ago, said the bank was trying to change its culture.

“Executives across the organisation have faced consequences for our failures. Some have been terminated, and there has been a $100 million impact on remuneration,” he said.

“Accountability has not been clear enough inside the Commonwealth Bank. To address this we have extended the Government’s new Banking Executive Accountability Regime across more than 90 executives.”

In a sign the bank may overhaul the way it pays its staff, Mr Comyn said there may be more changes necessary.

“We have changed the structure of remuneration to reduce the reliance on financial measures. We will continue to examine what more can be done in this area,” he said.

The comments came as the head of the banking regulator, Wayne Byres, used an address to a financial services summit to signal it may take tougher action against bank executives found to be in breach of standards of behaviour.

“The royal commission has suggested, amongst other things, that regulators can and should do more to actively enforce standards of behaviour within the financial sector, and punish those who breach them,” he said.

“Based on what has been revealed, that is a quite reasonable conclusion to reach.

“Consistent with prudential supervisors around the world, APRA has traditionally examined cases of poor conduct as an indicator of risk, but not a direct prudential risk in and of itself, unless it was likely to jeopardise the stability of the system or an individual institution. We will clearly need to reflect on that approach.”

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