Official report whitewashes financial crimes by Australia’s biggest bank


Official report whitewashes financial crimes by Australia’s biggest bank

Mike Head

5 May 2018

Yet another Australian government inquiry has allowed a major bank or finance house go scot-free after systematically defrauding or fleecing millions of customers, primarily working people, retirees and small business operators.

An Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) report this week into multiple financial crimes committed by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), the country’s largest bank, recommends no punishment whatsoever.

Instead the bank agreed to a worthless “enforceable undertaking” to conduct vague “remedial action.” This essentially means it can carry on with the rapacious activities that drove its profit to near $10 billion last year.

The CBA will be required to keep an extra $1 billion in its capital reserve, which is an insignificant portion of its $64 billion in capital. If APRA later rules that the bank fails to implement any of its “undertakings,” the CBA might face fines of up to $210 million—about 2 percent of its annual profit.

The Liberal-National Coalition government commissioned the APRA report last August in a desperate attempt to prevent a wider inquiry after CBA had committed a litany of abuses for at least a decade.

These included mis-selling margin loans to customers to invest in financial products recommended by Storm Financial, which collapsed (2008); misconduct by financial advisers in Commonwealth Financial Planning, part of CBA’s wealth business (2010–11); fees for no service in financial advice (2012 to 2015); use of outdated definitions of heart attacks to deny insurance claims against CommInsure (2016); and misleading selling of credit card insurance (2013 to 2018).

On top of that, in seeking…

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