Australia

What CommBank, Westpac heads have told us

Changes are underway at the Commonwealth Bank and Westpac to rectify issues raised at the banking royal commission, the banks' chief executives say.

WHAT WE FOUND OUT FROM PARLIAMENTARY HEARING INTO BANKS:

THEY WERE TOO SLOW

* Both Commonwealth Bank chief executive Matt Comyn and Westpac chief executive Brian Hartzer acknowledged their banks had been too slow to address problems in the institutions that were eventually raised by the banking royal commission.

INTERACTIONS WITH THOSE HURT BY MISCONDUCT:

* Mr Comyn has spoken face to-face with fewer than 10 customers who have been affected by misconduct in his six months in the job, but has spoken with others on the phone.

* About 9000 people have replied to a letter from Mr Comyn to Commonwealth Bank customers about changes made at the bank following the revelations at the royal commission.

* Westpac chief executive Brian Hartzer says he speaks with customers "all the time", or roughly once a day, with many of those discussions related to complaints. But he later clarified he hasn't met face-to-face with anyone with a long-standing issue in the past three months.

VIEWS ON THE ROYAL COMMISSION:

* Both Mr Comyn and Mr Hartzer had once rejected the need for a banking royal commission. But Mr Cormyn acknowledged he was wrong to do so, while Mr Hartzer said it was very clear it has been a "valuable process", albeit a "very painful process for the banks".

SOME OF THE FALLOUT AND REFORMS:

* So far this year, about 41 Commonwealth Bank employees have been terminated due to misconduct, while another nine have resigned while being investigated.

* Dozens of senior executives at the Commonwealth Bank (90) have now been part of a formal accountability process, through which it had been made clear exactly what they are liable for within the organisation. The same is true for at least 15 senior executives at Westpac.

* Both banks have made changes to how their staff are incentivised. About 70 per cent of incentives for Westpac's frontline staff are now non-financial.

* A new group executive has been appointed at Westpac, reporting to the chief executive, to deal with customer complaints.

* All Westpac staff - about 40,000 people - downed tools for half a day earlier this month to "recommit" to the bank's values and code of conduct, where stories of those affected by misconduct were played.

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