SYDNEY – The chief executive of the ANZ bank said on Friday that the bank had fired 200 employees, including senior executives, for bad banking behavior in Australia, including irregularities reported by an official commission.
Shayne Elliot, the head of one of the four major banks of Australia, was testifying at a parliamentary committee hearing two weeks after the Royal Commission investigating the financial sector released its interim report, which concluded that banks and other financial institutions maltreated clients due to greed.
“In the past, ANZ has not focused sufficiently on formally holding executives to account for failures that harm customers,” said Elliot, and reported the sacking of employees in the last few months.
The Royal Commission, established in late 2017, said in its report that banks had ignored “basic standards of honesty” by indulging in practices such as charging clients – sometimes deceased – for services not offered, manipulating information, making false statements to get clients and intimidating disadvantaged clients.
Elliot said that the conduct was shameful and counterproductive and added that ANZ had carried out several changes to regain the confidence of its clients, including making senior executives accountable for misconduct.
He said that there was more transparency in the institution now, although acknowledging that much remained to be done.
Earlier, Commonwealth Bank Chief Executive Matt Comyn and Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer admitted before the committee that their institutions delayed acting on malpractices exposed by the commission.
National Australia Bank CEO Andrew Thorburn is set to appear before the parliamentary committee on Oct. 19.
The commission is set to continue investigating the conduct of financial institutions and conducting public hearings for its final report, which is expected to be finished by Feb. 1, 2019.