Hayne royal commission: Banks confess to forgery, bullying, sexual harassment

The release of the original summaries of a decade’s worth of misconduct by the banks have cast new light on poor behaviour from the big four banks revealing previously unheard details about fraud, bullying, sexual harassment and data breaches.

The Hayne royal commission published the submissions made by the banks in response to a request by Commissioner Kenneth Hayne to provide a summary of misconduct at the banks and their attempts to address them in 50 pages or less.

Commissioner Hayne was scathing of the bank’s original efforts, with the banks unable to provide enough detail or meet the required deadlines. Among the documents published by the royal commission are the bank’s subsequent attempts to provide more fulsome and detailed answers.

Among the new details to emerge in this massive dump of more than 215 documents from financial institutions are episodes of bank staff forging signatures, sexual harassment of staff members and the non-payment of employee superannuation benefits.

In the original submission made by ANZ the bank revealed: a branch employee found to have falsified more than 100 loan applications, two business bankers who colluded with third parties to make 47 fraudulent loans, a mobile banker who submitted false documents and many more instances of ANZ staff forging signatures on loan documents.


Submissions made by the Commonwealth Bank include a spread sheet of misconduct which details multiple reports of sexual harassment at work events and outside the workplace. In another example, a case of “inappropriate comments and sexual language” resulted in the employee who was on probation being dismissed.

NAB’s submissions include details of a number of data breaches including: the erroneous listing of credit card defaults against 16,228 customers in breach of the Privacy Act, an employee emailing the details of its South Australian customer base to 535 customers and a massive data breach at NAB that saw the personal details of 60,463 customers sent to the owner of a string of adult websites.

Westpac’s submission also contains detail about a number of alarming incidents including: staff manipulating internal systems such as ‘simulating’ account deposits to trigger bonuses, falsely recording that offers had been made in order meet key performance indicators and details of a third party broker who specialised in Chinese migrants who used fake letters of employment and other documents leading the bank to establish a foreign income verification team.

More to come

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