ANZ Bank CEO Shayne Elliott has promised to do more to increase the accountability of executives at his bank.
“I understand the community’s desire for greater executive accountability and I agree we should do more,” he told a parliamentary committee.
The banks have been hit by a series of scandals including faulty financial planning advice to customers, restricting payouts for disability insurance claims and allegations of rigging the bank bill swap rate.
A key theme of questioning at the parliamentary hearings has been why no senior executives have lost their jobs at the banks despite a series of “rip-offs” being exposed at the banks.
Elliott was appearing for a second time before House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics in Canberra which is holding the banks to account.
He says the committee’s proposal to increase the level of public disclosure when things go wrong can largely be implemented.
“However, we think connecting individual accountability with breach reporting needs more consideration,” he says.
“Parliaments, governments and regulators make public policy not banks, but as an experienced business manager, I can offer my own observations on the risks of the proposed change.
“In more than 20 years of managerial roles, it is my experience that overly punitive sanctions, like the risk of public shaming, can lead to a culture of fear.
“A culture of fear saps the courage of even good people to own up to their mistakes and call out when they see the mistakes of others.”
The committee has proposed that any breaches of a banking licence should include naming the senior executive responsible.
After questioning, Elliott later said he didn’t have a problem naming the executive responsible for a division where a breach occurred. “We are happy to comply with this in principle,” he said.
He also says he has no problem if the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission), the competition watchdog, started monitoring banking. Other banks, including the Commonwealth, say there’s no need for this.
Elliott’s appearance this afternoon follows NAB CEO Andrew Thorburn this morning.
At the first parliamentary hearings in October, the CEOs admitted to the past shortcomings in their organisations, apologised and promised to do better.
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