Let's Talk: Who should have been fired for CBA's stuff up?

CBA's top execs have been left off the hook while it seems yet another middle man was probably the fall guy for the bank's epic stuff up.

In the midst of damning money-laundering allegations, the Commonwealth Bank today released a statement outlining what changes it had made since Austrac took it to task.

Read more: Commonwealth Bank in hot water over ‘serious’ breaches

This included “changing senior leadership in the key roles overseeing financial crimes compliance, compliance more broadly, and operational risk” and recruiting more than 50 financial crime compliance professionals.

Which begs the question, how come it’s always the middle-ranking guy that bites the bullet? 

Despite public outcry that CBA’s chief executive officer Ian Narev step down, the CBA board continues to back him and said as much in its last public statement. 

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And while CBA’s top executives will miss out on their short term bonuses, the CBA also reported today on its record $9.93 billion profit. 

Read more: Commonwealth Bank executives hit where it hurts

According to the Finance Sector Union of Australia (FSU), cutting Narev and his executive team’s short term bonuses saved an estimated $16M from the CBA’s wages bill but it doesn’t mean much for a group already paid more money than most of us will ever see in our lives. 

The FSU says the salary “claw-back” basically just gets the bank’s top players off the hook for yet another scandal which has completely trashed the CBA’s reputation. 

“If a member of the FSU, much further down the food chain, was held to be responsible for such a monumental stuff up, they would be sacked on the spot,” Julia Angrisano, FSU National Secretary said.

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“The CBA would have come down heavily on staff responsible for failure on a compliance measure like this. They would be out of a job, and banned by the ABA’s Industry Conduct Background Check Protocol, unable to get another job in banking  for five years.”

And it appears that this is exactly what the CBA has done with its latest announcement that it had changed senior leadership.

Other changes it announced in the wake of the current scandal included: 

  • Promptly fixing the coding error relating to the IDM TTRs.
  • Changing senior leadership in the key roles overseeing financial crimes compliance, compliance more broadly, and operational risk.
  • Recruiting more than 50 financial crime compliance professionals.
  • Strengthening our Know Your Customer (KYC) processes with a specialist hub providing consistent and high-quality on-boarding of customers, delivered at a cost of more than $85m.
  • Upgrading the financial crime technology used to monitor accounts and transactions for suspicious activity. The new technology will be fully delivered over the next twelve months at a cost of approximately $40m.
  • Commencing the upgrade of additional fraud monitoring technology, for use by the team that provides further security assurance to customers by identifying any fraudulent activity.

Do you think CBA executives should have taken the fall for this one? 


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