National Australia Bank boss Andrew Thorburn apologises after more royal commission revelations
The head of the National Australia Bank has apologised to customers after more damning revelations surrounding its superannuation arm, including possible criminal breaches of the Corporations Act.
Andrew Thorburn yesterday took to social media to say that “once again” the banking royal commission had uncovered shortcomings in the bank and its treatment of hundreds of thousands of customers.
It followed fresh evidence in the commission that trustees overseeing the NAB’s commercial superannuation funds sought to continue the payment of fees by customers even as they failed to get any service for their money. The commission was told the bank is being investigated for up to 110 criminal breaches of the Corporations Act between 2014 and last year.
NAB and its handling of superannuation has faced almost three full days of questioning at the commission, with widespread payment of fees for no service and in some cases dead customers being charged.
Mr Thorburn, who urged customers to contact him direct through his Twitter in-box, said the NAB prided itself on its honour and being good “stewards” for customers’ money.
But the royal commission had revealed serious shortcomings.
“This week, once again, we’ve been confronted in the royal commission where we’ve let you down. I’m sorry for that,” he said.
“I know we get it right the vast majority of the time but it’s clear in these cases and in others that we failed you.”
In the commission, NAB representative Nicole Smith rejected assertions from counsel assisting Michael Hodge that the bank and its superannuation trustees had failed its customers. Mr Hodge accused the trustees of “standing by” while NAB’s wealth team and executive management spent several years arguing with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission that taking fees for services that were never provided was in the best interest of members.
Superannuation trustees are required by law to put the best interests of members ahead of other considerations.
The commission has been focusing on whether charging fees for services that were not delivered may constitute a criminal act.