Matt Comyn, who takes over as CEO of the Commonwealth from Ian Narev next month, has written to his staff saying the bank will not repeat the mistakes of the past.
The email from Comyn comes as the Commonwealth faces a difficult week at the Royal Commission into Financial Services.
Among the witness facing questioning is Clive van Horen, Executive General Manager of retail products at the bank.
Comyn says there will be cases highlighted at the Royal Commission hearings where the CBA customers were treated “unfairly”.
Last week the commission heard of NAB branch managers receiving cash bribes in white envelopes. That scandal the resulted in 20 bankers being sacked or resigning.
And the commission was told of loan brokers getting upfront and on-going fees if people didn’t pay off their mortgages early.
Now it’s the CBA’s turn.
“In many cases, our actions have had a significant impact on the financial and emotional well-being of our customers. This is unacceptable,” says Comyn in the email.
“Where we have made mistakes we must and will take responsibility for them, we will make things right for our customers, and not repeat the same mistakes.
“We will exceed our regulatory and compliance obligations, and enhance the financial wellbeing of every single customer we serve.”
The bank got off to a bad start with the royal commission and was criticised for the information it provided.
Rowena Orr, senior counsel assisting the commission, said: “Much of the information provided by CBA in its second submission was not in a form which made it possible to easily understand the type and the scale of CBAs misconduct events over the past five years.”
The commission complained that bank produce a large volume of spreadsheets, containing “all details of 40 compliance incidents” since January 2013.
“The volume of material provided made it difficult to assess in meaningful way the type and scale of CBAs misconduct.”
Comyn, in the email to staff, said: “This was never our intention and we will resubmit our information as soon as possible and ensure we have fully met the requests of the commission.”
Here is Comyn’s email in full:
This week the Royal Commission into Misconduct in Banking, Insurance and Superannuation commenced hearings in Melbourne.
From the outset, we said that we were absolutely determined to be cooperative and open with the Commission. Unfortunately, as we heard on Tuesday, our first submissions did not meet the Commission’s expectations. This was never our intention and we will resubmit our information as soon as possible and ensure we have fully met the requests of the Commission. We will work to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
There will be cases highlighted next week where customers have been treated unfairly by us. In many cases, our actions have had a significant impact on the financial and emotional wellbeing of our customers. This is unacceptable.
Where we have made mistakes we must and will take responsibility for them, we will make things right for our customers, and not repeat the same mistakes. We will exceed our regulatory and compliance obligations, and enhance the financial wellbeing of every single customer we serve.
Together, we will make our bank better, and one we can all continue to be proud of.”
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