National Australian Bank. Picture: Hollie Adams/The Australian
National Australian Bank. Picture: Hollie Adams/The Australian

Hundreds of NAB staff sacked over breaches

HUNDREDS of employees have been sacked or faced financial penalties at the National Australia Bank this year after being questioned about their conduct as the royal commission exposes shocking behaviour at the nation's banks.

NAB chief executive Andrew Thorburn issued an apology to the banks customers this morning as he faced a grilling at Parliament House about the "appalling behaviour" uncovered at the royal commission.

He said he had been "upset" and ashamed at some of the stories that had emerged over the year.

Mr Thorburn also revealed 300 NAB staff had either been fired or left of their own accord after questioning about their conduct this year, while 700 staff in total had their pay docked or faced other penalties for misconduct.

Twelve hundred employees were questioned in total, Mr Thorburn told the House of Representatives economics committee this morning at its regular public hearing for bank chiefs.

NAB boss Andrew Thorburn has issued an apology to the banks customers over its conduct. Picture: Hollie Adams/The Australian
NAB boss Andrew Thorburn has issued an apology to the banks customers over its conduct. Picture: Hollie Adams/The Australian

"The royal commission has exposed issues in our bank and the industry that have been confronting and upsetting," Mr Thorburn told the committee in his opening statement.

"I feel this deeply, having worked in our profession for more than three decades. In so many cases, we have not had the care and respect for our customers that we should have. And for that, I am sorry."

Mr Thorburn is the final chief executive from the Big Four banks to be questioned by the committee this month.

Commonwealth Bank's Matt Comyn and Westpac's Brian Hartzer fronted the committee last Thursday, while ANZ's Shayne Elliott appeared the day after.

Mr Comyn and Mr Hartzer each acknowledged their institutions took too long to address misconduct that was eventually uncovered by a royal commission.

They also admitted they have their work cut out regaining the public's trust. "From an overall reputation point of view, this is obviously going to take years to restore," Mr Hartzer said.

Mr Elliott said he was "appalled" to learn through the banking royal commission what impact the institution has had on some Australians.

The financial harm and emotional stress on customers was completely unacceptable, he said.

All three chief executives outlined their organisation's plans for turning things around, including clearer accountability.

-with AAP