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ANZ boss full of apologies


Like his Commonwealth Bank counterpart, ANZ boss Shayne Elliott is full of apologies for past wrongdoings by his bank.

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Appearing on the second day of a parliamentary review into the big four banks, Elliott said each time his bank falls short of what is expected it potentially harms a customer or a member of the community.

“For that I apologise,” he told the House of Representatives economics committee on Wednesday.

“When we fail our customers, it is my job to take accountability, apologise, fix it for the customer as quickly as possible, and make the changes required to stop it happening again.”

Commonwealth Bank chief Ian Narev made similar remarks when he was quizzed on Tuesday.

But a committee member, Liberal MP Julia Banks, asked whether for someone earning millions of dollars it was adequate to just admit a mistake, fix it and then apologise.

“How many times can you say that,” she said.

Elliott conceded it was the reality of large organisations.

Deputy committee chair Labor MP Matt Thislethwaite asked the bank boss to list where ANZ had let its customers down.

Elliott said that on occasions where customers had been charged fees incorrectly, “we fixed that”.

There have been customers who have not alway received quality advice and there has been a situation where people were being charged but not received advice at all.

“We have made mistakes, there is no doubt about that. Our responsibility is to find them quickly, redress them and make sure our customers are put back in their rightful position.”

Asked by committee chair Liberal MP David Coleman his view of on a proposed industry-funded banking tribunal, Elliott thought it was a good idea.

“We have no issue with a banking tribunal and no issue in supporting it,” he said.

He said the challenge would be making sure whatever processes are put in place are efficient for customers.

The review is the government’s response to Labor calls for a royal commission into the banking sector after a series of financial scandals.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull demanded the banks front the committee at least once a year after the big four failed to pass on the central bank cash rate cut in August in full.

Turnbull believes it is an important innovation.

“That will mean that they become more accountability,” he told reporters in Sydney.

Elliott, who took over the top job at ANZ nine months ago, admitted it poorly managed its OnePath financial advisory and life insurance arm, blaming more than a million breaches on a failure to thoroughly test systems.

“That was a mistake of reasonable magnitude,” he said, which included directing the superannuation of 1400 people into the wrong account.

ANZ has also changed its processes after having to repay nearly 400,000 customers almost $29 million in overcharged fees.


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