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Aussie bank bosses should be named over breaches, lawmakers say

Thursday, November 24, 2016 - 10:32

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Executives at Australia's biggest banks must be held publicly accountable for any regulatory breach in any of their divisions, according to a parliamentary committee investigating the conduct of the lenders after a series of scandals.

[SYDNEY] Executives at Australia's biggest banks must be held publicly accountable for any regulatory breach in any of their divisions, according to a parliamentary committee investigating the conduct of the lenders after a series of scandals.  

From July next year, the banks should be required to report publicly the nature of any breach and the names of senior executives responsible for the teams where the breach occurred, according to a report from the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics released Thursday.

The lenders should also reveal "consequences" for those executives and, if they weren't fired, why termination was not pursued, it said.

The recommendations come after the heads of Commonwealth Bank of Australia and its three largest rivals were called before the committee last month by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull amid rising public disquiet over record profits, the failure of the lenders to pass on recent interest-rate cuts in full and a series of consumer scandals.

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"The major banks have a 'poor compliance culture' and have repeatedly failed to protect the interests of consumers," the lawmakers said.

"This is a culture that senior executives have created. It is a culture that they need to be held accountable for."

It was "unacceptable" that no senior figures had been fired in a number of scandals such as the mishandling of life insurance claims at CommInsure, Commonwealth Bank's insurance arm, the improper collection of fees from 390,000 accounts at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd and the provision of poor financial advice at National Australia Bank Ltd, the report said.

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