The CEOs of Australia’s four major banks are back before a parliamentary committee in Canberra from Friday for a second round of questioning on the conduct of their institutions.
The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics is conducting further public hearings as part of its review of the performance of the banking and financial system.
“These hearings provide an important mechanism to hold the banking sector to account before the parliament,” says Liberal MP David Coleman, the chair of the committee.
The banks have been widely criticised for not passing on the full benefit of interest rate cuts. They have also 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 (the Commonwealth is excluded from this one).
At the first parliamentary hearings in October, the CEOs admitted to the past shortcomings in their organisations, apologised and promised to do better.
Yesterday, the corporate regulator, ASIC, announced legal action against Westpac over alleged breaches of responsible lending laws involving home loan assessments.
NAB CEO Andrew Thorburn is first up on Friday, followed by the Commonwealth’s Ian Narev, the ANZ’s Shayne Elliott and Westpac’s Brian Hartzer next week, on Tuesday and Wednesday.
This time the Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA) will join the public hearings.
“These hearings provide an important mechanism to hold the banking sector to account before the parliament,” says Coleman.
“As the ABA is charged with addressing numerous issues of concern to consumers, it is important that they are scrutinised by the committee.”
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