'Frank and Scathing': Banking Royal Commission Releases Interim Report

The 1000-page report across three volumes, provides damning evidence of unethical -- and in some cases illegal -- banking practices.

The banking royal commission's interim report has found that bank misconduct was driven by greed against a back-drop of very little repercussions from the sector's regulator.

The first phase of the investigation into consumer lending, financial planning, business lending, farm finance and Indigenous finance was handed to the government on Friday morning.

It has unraveled alleged practices such as charging dead people bank fees, lying to financial investigators and loaning money to people who were clearly unable to meet repayments.

In the executive summary of the report, Commissioner Kenneth Hayne noted:

“When misconduct was revealed, it either went unpunished or the consequences did not meet the seriousness of what had been done,” he said, singling out the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC).

Hayne said the key questions the commission has to answer are why, and how to stop it happening again.

"I want to commend the Commissioner and his team on the thoroughness of this report -- but the greed that has permeated the culture, the compliance of the sector and secondly, the misconduct has gone to a large degree unpunished. Effectively unpunished,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told reporters on Friday afternoon.

Frydenberg said one of the take-aways from the report is the financial regulator  -- ASIC -- may have been too close to a sector it was mean to monitor.

"This interim report is a frank and scathing assessment of the culture, conduct and compliance of our financial system. Australians expect and deserve better,” he said.

READ MORE: A Dummies Guide To The Banking Royal Commission

He added that ethics were readily pushed aside in the interests of the bottom line.

"Too often, the answer seems to be greed — the pursuit of short term profit at the expense of basic standards of honesty," he wrote.

"How else is charging continuing advice fees to the dead to be explained?"

More to come.

Contact the author alattouf@networkten.com.au

Featured Image: AAP