So that’s it for Comyn.
It was a polished performance. He was well-briefed and well-prepared. But the questions weren’t particular probing.
He spoke with a sense of purpose, and humility. But the inquisitors never really got him on the backfoot.
CBA remains contrite. It is pledging more transparency, and ongoing attention on ensuring it looks after customers better than it has in the past. The hearing revealed there a long way to go.
Comyn admitted more action is needed on remuneration. For example, he suggested some sort of ability to clawback director pay was required to stop the situation of former chairman David Turner refusing to return fees to show accountability.
With a plethora of banking policy issues set to be fought over during the upcoming federal election campaign, CBA put its position on several of these on the record today.
It supports the ALP fairness fund to increase the number of financial counsellors to support customers. But Comyn also warned more broadly that the design of policies can influence on the availability and cost of loans.
He said Labor’s franking credit proposals may have an impact on the market capitalisation of the banks – but not necessarily, because there are lots of other factors at play when it comes to reasons for holding bank shares.
CBA disagrees with the government and Commissioner Hayne that the definition of small business should be lifted to $5 million of lending.
One of the key focuses this morning has been on the number of complaints that CBA is facing – which is actually rising.
CBA has 990 complaints currently with AFCA. Around 900 of these have been lodged since the creation of AFCA at the end of last year.
More than 5,000 complaints have recently been resolved. But new complaints are spiking and more resources are being put into them.
At the same time though, CBA has re-committed to more transparency with AFCA, denying there’s a culture of legal obfuscation, and agreeing it has a duty to act like a model litigant.
So it appears that the clean up from the royal commission is going to take quite a few years to work through. How much that will cost, in terms of additional resources and management time, remains unknown.