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Opinion

Australia banking: Comyn shafts Narev for the greater CBA good

There's one way to get to the top – rubbish those who came before you.

“Temper your sense of justice.”

That phrase, you can already feel, is entering the Australian vernacular as a shorthand for the complacency of the big banks.

It came to light in the latest hearings of the Royal Commission into Australian banking conduct, during the testimony of Matt Comyn, the new chief executive of Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Matt-Comyn-CBA-160x186

Matt Comyn, CBA

Comyn used his testimony to explain how he had, in his previous job as head of retail, lobbied then chief executive Ian Narev in 2015 and 2016 to stop selling some of the products that would later land the bank in enormous trouble with the regulators and the public.

Comyn said he repeatedly asked Narev to stop selling consumer credit insurance, such as credit card insurance and loan protection insurance.

Comyn argued that they were not good products and made such a tiny contribution to profitability that they were not worth doing. The mis-selling of these products – often to people who were ineligible to make a claim in any case – is one of the things that dragged the bank into the mire and ultimately cost Narev his job.

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