The Commonwealth bank has ‘strongly refuted’ a parliamentary committee report savaging their response to forgery and fraud perpetrated by financial planners between 2006 and 2010.

What the Senate committee found then and since has been nothing short of appalling: The bank and corporate regulator overlooked the forging of bank customer signatures by their own financial planners. These falsified documents where then used to buy profit-producing products benefiting the planners and bank rather than the customers.

Since that time the CBA has been obstructive and slow to comply with the Senate investigation. The report highlighted the bank’s resistance and delays in opening their books, identifying the numbers of customers affected by the fraud, and their withering stinginess in awarding compensation.

Photo: www.senatormarkbishop.com.au

Mark Bishop Photo: www.senatormarkbishop.com.au

Chair of the investigating committee, Mark Bishop, said the bank continually sought to mitigate the effects their planners’ crimes. Plus, he said, the CBA has taken every opportunity to minimise the amount of compensation they felt obliged to pay their victims.

The CBA argued against these recriminations saying they had substantially restructured their Financial Planning and Oversight departments. The bank repeated their apologies saying, “We deeply regret that some of our financial advisers did not provide quality advice to customers, some of whom had trusted and banked with us for decades.”

“We have no tolerance for behaviour that prejudices the financial well being of our customers.”

The report produced by the Senate committee has 61 recommendations. The most controversial (and most fiercely resisted by the CBA) is the call for a Royal Commission to fully investigate the extent of the wrongdoing.

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