“What they are doing is just focusing on rogue regulators, who (they think) are just going off on a frolic.
“It’s not a frolic. We clearly have been given a mandate by the government, by the Parliament, by the royal commission, to do our job as effectively as possible.”
The banking sector’s apparent resistance to reform was underscored by David Locke, the chief executive of the new Australian Financial Complaints Authority.
He said there were big differences in the way different financial institutions were dealing with the authority in the wake of the royal commission, and too many firms that were failing to put more resources into their internal dispute resolution (IDR) processes and systems to cope with the higher number of claims flooding into the system.
“We’re not getting a satisfactory response; they are not upscaling their IDR in the way that they need do to,” Mr Locke said of the laggards.
“I’ve got a number of firms where even when we go back and refer [a matter] in the first instance we are not even getting a response 25 per cent of the time.
“There really is still a way to go in terms of shifting this. I do think it’s depressing that it is variable across the piece, and there is more to do.”
Australian Banker’s Association chief executive Anna Bligh said the resistance to change was not surprising, but banking leaders needed to persuade staff to realise the importance of reform.
“I don’t doubt that there are people at senior leaders saying some of those sorts of things, because this is disrupting their entire world. And it’s a disruption that needs to happen. It’s not going to be easy, it’s not going to be comfortable, it’s not going to be quick.
“And I think the challenge for CEOs and for chairs and for boards … is to find those pockets of resistance and either persuade them of the need for change or persuade them of the need to move on.”
Ms Bligh said the success of the mortgage broking sector in convincingthe government not to adopt broking reformsrecommended by the royal commission was also a concern.
This could convince other groups to try to argue other key reforms should be abandoned, she said, and it would only be with a bipartisan effort that the Hayne recommendations would survive.
“It’s much more likely that that will fracture during or in the lead-up to the federal election.
“I do think there are quite a few things that are open to being reopened, after seeming settled.”