NAB chair Ken Henry and CBA’s Catherine Livingstone will both appear before the banking royal commission

Kenneth Hayne Screenshot
  • The next and final round of banking royal commission hearings will see bank chairs and CEOs being grilled.
  • Starting next week, NAB Chair Ken Henry and Commonwealth Chair Catherine Livingstone are confirmed as witnesses.
  • The seventh round of hearings will look at the causes of misconduct and on possible regulatory reform.

The financial services royal commission will be grilling the chairs of two of Australia’s major banks at its hearings starting next week.

The NAB today confirmed that both its CEO Andrew Thorburn and Chairman Ken Henry, a former Treasury Secretary, will appear.

At the Commonwealth, Chair Catherine Livingstone is confirmed as a witness.

She told the AGM last week that Matt Comyn, who became CEO in April this year, would appear at the last round of hearings.

Shayne Elliott at the ANZ and Westpac’s Brian Hartzer are also due to appear. Their chairmen, David Gonski at ANZ and Lindsay Maxsted at Westpac, have not been called to appear.

The seventh round of hearings, starting in Sydney on Monday, will focus on causes of misconduct and on possible responses, including regulatory reform.

The hearings will also consider the role of regulators ASIC and APRA in supervising the actions of financial services entities, deterring misconduct, and taking action when needed.

Commissioner Kenneth Hayne, in his interim report, says “greed” and the pursuit of short term profit at the expense of basic standards of honesty was the primary motivator for bad behaviour in the banking industry.

The Commonwealth Chair Catherine Livingstone told shareholders last week that the misconduct raised questions about competency, complacency and priorities.

“When people or processes failed, there were neither the systems nor processes in place to identify and fix the problems, nor a sufficient sense of urgency to identify the root cause, and take steps to prevent similar issues arising again,” she said.

“Our focus on improving overall customer satisfaction also obscured and distracted us from focusing on customer dissatisfaction, which would have alerted us to many of these issues sooner.

“We also acknowledge the Royal Commission’s criticism that, too often, a focus on profitability disadvantaged some of our customers. We agree that this imbalance is not acceptable.

“There is much to be done to address these failings, and significant programs of work have been underway for the past year.”