ANZ chief says remediation is "distracting"

ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott has admitted to a parliamentary inquiry that the bank saw its remediation programs as a "distraction" and at one point took up to 15 years to compensate some customers.

This morning, Elliott told the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics in Canberra that it was one of the two major banks that admitted to ASIC it viewed remediating customers as "distracting."

The inquiry is currently scrutinising the chiefs of the four major banks on the back of revelations from the Royal Commission.

The Standing Committee on Economics panel put it down to cultural problems that came from the top.

Elliot said some customers had to wait 15 years for refunds when the bank's system calculated home loan products incorrectly; he admitted that this was "shameful" and "wrong."

The panel also endeavoured to find out why the four major banks have been able to continue to operate below community standards while making significant profits. It pointed out that this could be due to the lack of competition in Australia's banking industry.

If this was any other industry or sector, a senator said, it would have faced more severe consequences.

Elliot responded that ANZ's return on equity has "dramatically" fallen from about 17-18% to 11% over the last 20 to 30 years, and that Australian banks earn much lower profits compared to other ASX-listed companies.

Elliot also admitted the bank has operated below what the law requires but maintains it did not breach the Corporations Act.

If that is the case, the panel asked, then why have hundreds of people made submissions to the Royal Commission to have their cases heard?

Elliot said the purpose of Financial Ombudsman Service is to hear such cases.

The panel said given it is being replaced by AFCA, it shows that customers still aren't being remediated properly or getting the justice they deserve.

Read more: ElliotANZAustraliaCommitteeEconomicsRoyal CommissionShayne ElliottAFCAASICBrian HatzerCanberraFinancial Ombudsman ServiceHouse of RepresentativesWestpac
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