Shareholders started it last year when they rejected Ken Henry’s remuneration plan by an astounding 88% majority. Hayne made it worse when he picked them out of a line-up:
NAB also stands apart from the other three major banks. Having heard from both the CEO, Mr Thorburn, and the Chair, Dr Henry, I am not as confident as I would wish to be that the lessons of the past have been learned. More particularly, I was not persuaded that NAB is willing to accept the necessary responsibility for deciding, for itself, what is the right thing to do, and then having its staff act accordingly. I thought it telling that Dr Henry seemed unwilling to accept any criticism of how the board had dealt with some issues. I thought it telling that Mr Thorburn treated all issues of fees for no service as nothing more than carelessness combined with system deficiencies when the total amount to be repaid by NAB and NULIS on this account is likely to be more than $100 million. I thought it telling that in the very week that NAB’s CEO and Chair were to give evidence before the Commission, one of its staff should be emailing bankers urging them to sell at least five mortgages each before Christmas. Overall, my fear – that there may be a wide gap between the public face NAB seeks to show and what it does in practice – remains.
Phil Lowe added more pressure yesterday:
“We didn’t find ourselves in this position because of bad regulators. Australia has by international standards a very good regulatory structure, both APRA and ASIC are highly regarded internationally.
“The fundamental problem isn’t with the regulators, it’s with the managers of the banks.”
“They’re the ones who made the loan decisions, who treated the people poorly, who didn’t address conflict of interest issues, who prioritised sales over service.
“It’s the managers of the banks who are ultimately responsible here, so I find it slightly frustrating that some people might blame the regulators for ending up in the position that we’ve ended up in.”
Today the corruption scandal has worsened at Domain:
The former chief of staff of embattled National Australia Bank boss Andrew Thorburn allegedly rorted more than $500,000 from the NAB to fund an extravagant overseas family holiday that included first class travel and luxury resorts.
The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald have confirmed that police are investigating whether shoddy oversight inside Mr Thorburn’s office enabled and emboldened his former chief of staff, Rosemary Rogers, and a corporate event contractor to pull off a suspected multi-million dollar fraud.
Ms Rogers’ overseas jaunt, which included multiple destinations and six other close family members, is the most egregious transaction being probed by NSW detectives, according to NAB sources.
The one thing that has consistently characterised Ken Henry’s public and private careers is a stone deaf political tin ear which is on display again today.
In case you missed it: TIME TO GO MATE!