ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott has admitted the lender cannot blame its misconduct over the past decade on IT glitches or ‘a few bad apples’.
Mr Elliott has written an open letter to investors and customers in which he says it was confronting to see all the issues laid out in ANZ’s submission to the banking royal commission.
‘It would be easy to lay the blame on a few bad apples or to say that these are largely historical technical glitches resulting from large complex IT systems,’ Mr Elliott wrote.
‘That would be wrong.’
Mr Elliott did not list the issues submitted to the commission by ANZ, which in the past few years has refunded customers for poor financial advice and paid $50 million to settle legal action brought by the corporate regulator over bank bill swap rates.
Mr Elliott, who was chief financial officer before stepping into the CEO role at the start of 2016, said the bank was making progress in addressing its shortcomings and had more work to do.
‘Although many of the issues in our submission are known and have been or are being fixed, seeing them all in one document is confronting,’ Mr Elliott said.
‘For me, it’s completely unacceptable that we have caused some of our customers financial harm and emotional stress.’
Mr Elliott was the first of the current chief executives of the big four banks to publicly acknowledge the merits of a royal commission, which the federal government eventually called at the behest of the quartet.
He said it represented the chance to reset the public perception of the bank.
‘My hope is the royal commission serves as a watershed moment in restoring the trust of customers and the community,’ Mr Elliott said.