RETAIL BANKING | Staff Reporter, Australia

Australian banks under tight scrutiny for a decade of corporate wrongdoing

A probe has opened a can of worms ranging from bribes to extracting fees from dead customers.

Bloomberg reports that a probe by the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry has revealed a decade of corporate wrongdoing and unethical practices by Australia’s biggest banks which ranges from lying to regulators, falsification of documents, taking bribes and extracting fees from dead customers.

The $5.3t (A$1.7t) mortgage market, dominated by the country’s largest lenders—Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank Ltd., and Westpac Banking Corp. Aus—is also rampant with allegations of misconduct.

Commonwealth, Westpac, and AMP were singled out as likely to have broken the law on multiple occasions, an inquiry revealed.

In fact, the CEO of AMP quit shortly after the firm admitted it misled regulators over charging customers for unreceived services and the government has already announced stiffer penalties on banks.

Also read: Australian banks speed up Asian retreat as competition and oversight mounts 

“The banks didn’t start this way, they’ve just evolved into it. To produce products—whether they happened to be superannuation or a new managed fund—and at the same time offer advice on that, they were able to get fees all the way through the system,” said Ian Ramsay, professor of commercial law at Melbourne University.

Here’s more from Bloomberg.

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