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Bring on the royal commission: NAB bosses

Bring on the royal commission: NAB bosses

National Australia Bank chairman Ken Henry and chief executive Andrew Thorburn had no choice but to ask for a royal commission - and they want it now.

The bosses of National Australia Bank agree that the big four banks had no choice left but to ask the government for a royal commission into the scandal-hit industry.

NAB chairman Ken Henry told the bank's annual general meeting in Sydney on Friday that dogged government resistance to a royal commission ended at the request of the big banks.

"While we have consistently argued that further inquiries were unwarranted - and I continue to be of that view - the time had come for us to call for stability," Dr Henry said.

The instability caused by an always looming commission was worse than a commission itself, Dr Henry said.

Support for a commission had been growing in the Senate but Mr Turnbull only announced the move after receiving a co-signed letter from all four big banks.

Dr Henry said banks access to overseas funding for local businesses and for mortgage lending becomes more expensive relative to the sector's perceived weakness.

"We rely on our offshore investors to provide sources of funding so that we might undertake these activities," Dr Henry said.

NAB chief executive Andrew Thorburn said a royal commission will bring closure and certainty for a sector struggling to regain consumer trust.

Mr Thorburn said he expected the royal commission will now help the troubled sector and his own mission to better serve customers.

"It is significant, its got terms of reference, its got a commissioner, its got a time frame - and I really think it is important we do get some closure and some certainty - and I think it will bring that," Mr Thorburn said.

"We will participate in the royal commission obviously, we will accept it and we need to get underway."

Former NSW premier Nathan Rees, now national assistant secretary of the Financial Services Union, called for transparency regarding NAB's November announcement of 4,000 job cuts over three years.

Mr Thorburn said he was initiating a bridging plan for the bank, which employs about 33,000 people.

"We will treat people with care, honesty and respect and provide them with the tools and skills to be successful," Mr Thorburn said.

This article was first published by
Author: Christian Edwards
Last modified onMonday, 19 March 2018 22:32

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