The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has apologised after it was revealed staff were depositing small amounts into childrens’ accounts to make them appear active.
Staff were depositing about 10 cents into inactive Youthsaver accounts in an attempt to gain performance bonuses, the bank confirmed in a statement on Saturday.
The scam saw employees use their own loose change or the bank’s money to pump up thousands of accounts, a Fairfax Media investigation found.
The bank banned the practice after it was uncovered in 2013, CBA chief executive Matt Comyn said.
“When customers open an account, they put their trust in us and that’s particularly true when the account holder is a child,” he said.
“There is now a line in the sand and we have zero tolerance for behaviour such as this, irrespective of whether there is customer harm.”
Mr Comyn apologised, noting no “financial harm” came to the customers targeted in the scam.
The employee bonus was, on average, less than two dollars in total per year, the bank said.
Many children have signed up to Youthsaver accounts through the Dollarmites program which has run through public schools for decades.
The scandal comes as the banking royal commission continues to unearth a culture of misconduct in the industry, eroding political and public confidence in the banks.