SYDNEY Nov 30 Australia and New Zealand Banking
Group's transformation into a smaller bank and other
steps it is taking will speed up a push to change its business
culture, following a series of scandals in the financial sector,
its CEO said.
Banks in Australia have come under intense political
pressure amid calls for a powerful judicial inquiry into the
financial sector, following revelations of misleading financial
advice, insurance fraud and alleged interest-rate rigging.
The outcry culminated in parliamentary hearings last month
where the heads of the so-called Big Four - ANZ, Commonwealth
Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and
Westpac Banking Group - repeatedly apologised for bad
Shayne Elliott, who took up ANZ's top job at the start of
the year, said the bank is ready to shift the dialogue "away
from protecting the bank from a bad reputation to actually
thinking about the broader impact of those decisions on the
"I accept we are not there yet but that is exactly what we
are working through," he told Reuters in an interview.
Elliott said ANZ's plan to sell its non-core businesses,
including its domestic wealth business and minority stakes in
Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank Co., Bank of Tianjin Co., PT Bank
Pan Indonesia and Malaysia's AMMB Holdings Bhd, would help
transform its culture.
"I figure a smaller, simpler bank will be easier to manage,"
he told a Reuters Newsmaker event earlier in the day. "We should
do less things for less people, do things that we're really,
really good at and can win, and that will be an easier place to
transform as well."
The bank, Australia's third largest by market value, is
setting up a reputational-risks committee to evaluate a new
customer, industry or transaction, the CEO said.
It is also going back to basics in its trading business,
where it executes customer orders and manages balance sheets,
speaking to traders in small groups to make clear its
"When people don't live up to those standards, it is
important," Elliott said. "It is like having children. We need
to set the boundaries and when they cross those boundaries there
need to be consequences."
And the message is filtering through to the 60,000-odd
employees of the bank who were this week told they wouldn't
receive their traditional annual A$1,000 ($748.20) share bonus.
The bonus stock allocation "was intended to share the
benefit of good years", Elliott said. "It was not a good year."
($1 = 1.3365 Australian dollars)
(Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)