Heat intensifies on disgraced NAB duo

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!


  1. Thorburn himself is has been bribed, or at least benefitting from the proceeds of crime.

    Ms Rogers is being investigated as part of a wider probe involving suspicious payments by executive events firm the Human Group to win contracts from the bank.

    NSW police uncovered information she organised a luxury Fiji holiday and a Thermomix kitchen appliance for Mr Thorburn using the firm.

    Poor Thorburn is obviously not being paid enough if one can bribe him with a kitchen appliance.

  2. “We didn’t find ourselves in this position because of bad regulators…”

    Yeah, nah.

    “Australia has by international standards a very good regulatory structure”

    It observably does not. Our regulators have demonstrably failed to regulate. They had…you know….ONE JOB. And they haven’t done it. They are pointless. They are worthless. They are expensive failures. They are cowardly lickspittle rumpswabs who do nothing but the bidding of the bank managers. They are held in contempt by all decent people. Or at least, by me. They should all be sacked and replaced with competent and diligent people. Or shot. Or both.

    “…both APRA and ASIC are highly regarded internationally”

    I couldn’t give a fat rat’s arse about their damned international reputation. What they do here is what matters. And what they have done here is NOTHING AT ALL. Their reputation here in Australia is lower than a snakes arsehole. If only they realised that. If only they could replaced wholesale with decent, honest people who actually did the job they were paid to do, and regulated the bank managers criminals running out financial institutions, rather than enjoying long lunches with them.

    “It’s the managers of the banks who are ultimately responsible here…

    If the managers of the banks are operating at a certain level of a hierarchy, and then there are regulators who sit at a higher level of the hierarchy and have authority over the bank managers, then aren’t the regulators by definition the ones who have “ultimate” responsibility? Am I missing something, do I not understand what “ultimate” means, or is this just a desperate attempt to spin away and avoid responsibility for the blatant regulatory capture and failure that allowed the banks, with the evident blessing of the regulators, to do as they pleased in their efforts to destroy our society for profit?

    Gosh, this makes me rather cross.

    • proofreadersMEMBER

      + Infinity. It can’t say much for international opinion if ASIC and APRA are highly regarded? Also, the RBA defending its brethen – LOL?

    • So I would say ASIC and APRA reputation is comfortably lower than that of the regulators in Singapore and Hong Kong. Better than Japan, Korea and China, yes. No doubt they’d see themselves as a peer to the better regional regulators though. This is pure arse in the normal over confident Aussie way, with precisely zero evidence to back it up other than “the vibe”. Like, we’re the inheritors of a proud British legacy (nothing like a clapped out shadow of What we inherited and squandered due to lack of imagination, courage and energy) and therefore we belong up there with the FCA and the SEC! Ahhhh, no.

      You’ve gotta laugh though. It’s not the fault of the regulators that things are so crap. It’s those pesky bankers that are so terribly naughty! There’s the Australian elite’s attitude to accountability (ie. No thanks) put as succinctly as possible.

    • It’s so bad something has to be done quickly; the lies/crime and corruption is soaked to the bone. I don’t just blame the regulators, it’s been a succession of pollies (all brands), and the revolving door to the spoils they desperately seek.

  3. “We didn’t find ourselves in this position because of bad regulators…” phuk oph phil you toadying phukwit you’re not talking to your aunty now.
    oz regulators are sh1t. self confessed to Ms Orr that they are owned. Hayne couldn’t believe his ears and asked for confirmation which he received forthwith

  4. Scummo has a photo of him and Thorburn and Mike Baird at a faith and values meeting in Canberra. I got it using google “scomo great to be joining NAB CEO” but it is on twitter. The meeting was in September 2017 – just before the rc was called – and Thorburn has his hand around scummo’s back and all have huge grins. Apparently there is value in networking with people of faith. (hat-tip blacksheep at sharescene).

    • John Howards Bowling Coach

      Mike Baird is a high profile God Botherer along with Scummo and Abbott and too many other without principles. The position put forward by the naive masses that being a person of faith makes you a good person is hallow in the face of the facts. The biggest failing right now is the absolute disbelief in science and specifically the disbelief in the science of climate change. The god botherers stiffly hold that their god would never punish man his creation and the climate change is god’s will. The true whackos might even think that it is god punishing the naughty types amongst us. So where you see no action on climate change it is often a direct result of people like Scummo and Abbott and Trump ho are all extremely ‘faithful’ men and therefore don’t believe in science. The only thing Mike Baird believes in is enriching himself, a man who outwardly appears to be a good man but on face value is just greedy, and without accepting of science above his own faith in a supreme being in the sky.

  5. Convex BuccaneerMEMBER

    Institutions cannot have the same virtues as individuals (honour, courage, loyalty, honesty). These chaps fit the institutional sociopathic skill set perfectly; as will those that follow them. They may become sacrificial symbols but nothing will change.
    More importantly, how does a career public servant heading up the government department responsible for economic policy, fiscal policy and market regulation leap seamlessly to the chair of a big four bank?
    The elephant of regulatory capture is trampling all over the home mortgage china shop and nobody seems to notice?

    • The announcement actually says “leadership changes” – plural – likely to mean that Thorburn has gone and Mike Baird gets the CEO gig on an interim basis. Would be a major surprise if Ken Henry goes as well at this stage, more’s the pity.