NAB boss questioned about breach reporting

NAB chief executive Andrew Thorburn has downplayed the need for a public breach reporting regime in an appearance before a parliamentary inquiry.

The Standing Committee on Economics began public hearings for its second Review of the Four Major Banks report on Friday with an appearance by NAB CEO Andrew Thorburn.

Committee chair Liberal MP David Coleman asked Mr Thorburn about NAB’s response to an earlier question from the committee about the need for a public breach reporting system.

Currently, financial organisations are required to make non-public breach reports to ASIC as soon as they become aware of non-compliant activities within their business.

Asked whether breach reports should be made public, NAB’s written response suggested that such a change could act as a “disincentive” for employee to make breach reports.

Addressing Mr Thorburn, Mr Coleman said, “You’re saying that you think if your people were publicly required to report breaches that they might seek to not do so, basically to turn a blind eye and not report things.”

“And that says something to me frankly about your assessment of your staff.”

In response, Mr Thorburn said he believed the “current framework” and the “steps [NAB] takes” are “sufficient”.

“We are working with the industry on the so-called bad apples register. We are working together with regulators and the industry and other banks to do that,” he said.

Mr Thorburn said the fact that 1,138 NAB employees are “facing consequences” for misconduct that was uncovered in 2016 is “a demonstration that we’re taking this seriously”.

But Mr Coleman accused Mr Thorburn of failing to address the question.

“I’ll just note that you haven’t directly addressed my question of why you would not want to publicly release that information each time, and I’ve asked you three times,” Mr Coleman said.

The committee’s hearings continue tomorrow with the appearances of CBA chief executive Ian Narev and ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott.

[Related: Challenger bank calls for credit card reforms]

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