NAB boss says his attitude 'polar opposite' to Hayne's description

Commbank is one of the banks under scrutiny.. Image Getty Images

The WA company behind the country's biggest network of mortgage brokers is hopeful the industry can find "some common ground" with the Federal Government on the banking royal commission's recommendations to ban commissions.

So with that strong market reply from investors yesterday it's no wonder that CEO Andrew Thorburn and Chairman Ken Henry yesterday rejected criticism of them and their attitudes in the appearances at the royal commission from Commissioner, Ken Jayne in his final report.

The "Big Four" banks - CBA, Westpac Banking Corp, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, and National Australia Bank - plus AMP have already committed to pay more than A$2 billion to wronged customers.

In his 1,000-page report, Hayne lambasted senior bank executives, said the fees-for-no service scandals could lead to criminal charges, and urged the securities regulator to get tough and start considering prosecution rather than negotiation as its first step.

While the changes are likely to make the financial sector more liable to be punished for violations, banks in the world's fourteenth-biggest economy have been spared any enforced breakup or interference in the way they choose to lend money.

The NAB chief executive has been on a PR offensive since Hayne's report was made public on Monday afternoon, after the commissioner questioned the ability of the bank's leadership to initiate top-down change.

AFG managing director David Bailey said the review period offered an opportunity for the industry to promote "the clear benefits" of mortgage broking, which now accounts for 59 per cent of all home loans written in Australia.

"It's a scathing assessment of conduct driven by greed and behaviour that was in breach of existing law and fell well below community expectations", he said. The broader market closed 0.5 percent higher.

The report comes ahead of an election expected in May in which falling house prices could be a hot-button issue.

Commissioner Hayne says Mr Thorburn didn't take his findings seriously enough but the NAB boss says that's not the case.

While Prime Minister Scott Morrison has also said he will take up the recommendations, he has warned against overreaching and cutting off credit flows.

Dr Henry and Mr Thorburn were accused by inquiry head Kenneth Hayne of being resistant to reform and unwilling to accept challenges to how the NAB board handled issues like fees for no service in the bank's operations.

"That is, there remains a reluctance in some entities to form and then to give practical effect to their understanding of what is ethical, of what is efficient, honest and fair, of what is the right thing to do", the report said. I am proud to be CEO of NAB, and am more determined than ever to lead NAB with even greater urgency and intensity and show through our ongoing actions that we do what we say....

"There has to be some scalps in the banking industry so people can see that justice has been done and the faults of the banking industry can be rectified and lessons have been learned".



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