Here come the bank mega-sanctions

Photo by Stefan Postles/Getty ImagesFinancial services minister Kelly O’Dwyer.

Australia’s banks are about to get it in the neck.

Today the federal government will announce new sanctions for financial institutions as community outrage grows at the flagrant misconduct in banks and wealth management firms being exposed at the Hayne Royal Commission.

Reports today say the Treasurer Scott Morrison and financial services minister Kelly O’Dwyer will set out new penalties for certain misconduct in financial institutions including:

  • Criminal convictions punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $945,000
  • Companies could be fined up to $9.45m or 10 per cent of their turnover.
  • Civil breaches will carry fines of up to $1.05m for individuals and $210m for companies.

The corporate regulator ASIC will also be given new investigative powers.

AMP’s CEO Craig Meller this morning stepped down with immediate effect and the board announced a range of remediation measures to try and redress the damage to its once-venerable brand.

Banks are issuing streams of apologies as the Hayne commission proceeds with its work, uncovering harrowing stories such as that of Jacqueline McDowall, a nurse who ended up out of her home and having her life savings severely depleted when she went to Westpac for help buying a bed and breakfast to support her retirement.

We’ll have all the details when they’re announced. You can’t help but suspect that this is just the beginning.

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