Banking issues

The handing down of the banking royal commission’s final report on Monday afternoon was a bitter pill for many to swallow.
The fearless, and at times ferocious, demeanor of Commissioner Kenneth Hayne has been replicated in his public assessment of the utterly unprofessional conduct of so-called finance professionals.
Commissioner Hayne says sweeping changes must be made to the finance sector and has made 76 recommendations in his 1000-page report.
It is still possible that criminal or civil charges could be made against some in the industry and the Commissioner has highlighted obvious shortcomings in the way mortgage brokers are paid which, under the current system, effectively has them working for the banks rather than their customers.
During the hearings the public was drip fed a daily diet of what really happens behind the scenes when multi-billion financial enterprises have about as much regard for their customers as Phillipines President Rodrigo Duterte has for drug dealers.
It is no surprise the banking industry now has a public relations problem of epic proportions.
But one must still question if the massive change the entire banking culture needs will be delivered.
It is vital the fox is not put in charge of the hen house.
Before the royal commission was established industry leaders were adamant there was no problem and an inquiry was a waste of time and money.
A “witch hunt” as then Treasurer Scott Morrison called it.
National Australia Bank chairman Ken Henry wrote to Mr Morrison in 2017 saying: “… further inquiries into the sector, including a royal commission, are unwarranted. They are costly and unnecessary distractions at a time when the finance sector faces significant challenges and disruption from technology and growing global macroeconomic uncertainty”.
At the same time Anna Bligh, the head of the Australian Banking Association, said she wasn’t sure what there would be for a royal commission to look at.
Either these two were out of touch … or out of their minds. Bank leaders such as these cannot be allowed to fix the problem.

For the full report, see the print issue of The Courier.