Matt Comyn says greed played a part in the Commonwealth's culture failure

Screenshot Parliament broadcast. Matt Comyn giving evidence at a federal parliamentary committee.
  • Matt Comyn, the new CEO of the CBA, told a parliamentary committee hearing that greed played a part in the bank’s failures.
  • And executives have faced consequences for those failures.
  • He says the banks had been too slow to identify problems, to fix underlying issues and to put things right.

Commonwealth CEO Matt Comyn today admitted greed played a part in the failures of the bank.

The financial services royal commission has labelled the actions of the major four banks — including charging for services not provided — as dishonest and the result of greed.

“Our customers and the community rightly expect that we always do the right thing,” Comyn told a parliamentary committee hearing.

“We have seen far too many instances of unacceptable customer outcomes.

“As the royal commission has shown there have unfortunately been failures of judgement, failures of process, failures of leadership and in some instances greed.

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

“We became complacent.”

Comyn says the company is making CBA a better and simpler bank by improving culture and putting customers first.

“Since I became CEO six months ago have been focusing on earning back trust and the reputation of the Commonwealth Bank by driving change and fixing everyone of these underlying issues,” he says.

Committee chair Tim Wilson, a Liberal MP, asked Comyn how he felt when he read the interim report at the financial services royal commission.

Comyn said: “Before the report was published the worst part of the overall royal commission process was listening to individual customer cases. Any instances where a customer has been let down by the actions of the Commonwealth Bank is completely unacceptable.”

“e says change at the CBA has started at the highest level of management. He has appointed six new senior managers to the executive team.

“Executives across the organisation have faced consequences for our failures,” he says.

“Some have been terminated, and there has been a $100 million impact on remuneration.

“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.”

And the structure of pay has been changed to reduce reliance on financial measures.

Comyn also referred to the inquiry by the prudential regulator APRA into the Commonwealth Bank last year.

He says the 35 recommendations are a roadmap for change.

“We have embraced the Report as a critical but fair assessment of our shortcomings; and we are implementing the recommendations in full, and reporting to the regulator on our progress,” he says.

Comyn says he recently wrote to the banks 8.5 million customers about becoming a simpler and better bank.

“I’ve so far received more than 9000 responses to that letter,” he says.

“We recognise these changes are only the beginning and we are committed to doing the work necessary to earn the community’s trust.”

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