Journalist Michael Roddan gives a thorough report on the Banking Royal Commission.
The banking royal commission, long resisted by government and the industry itself, lifted the lid on a snake's pit of scandalous behaviour. There seemed to be no bottom to the wrongdoing. The banks basically had a licence to pick-pocket their customers. A steroid fuelled sales culture took no prisoners when it came to signing up people to useless financial products. Overlooking this feeding frenzy was a rogues' gallery of corporate executives and managers. It's astonishing that such highly paid individuals could be so incompetent, causing so much damage to their respective institutions. Witness the demise of former treasury head and NAB Chairman Ken Henry, singled out in Justice Kenneth Hayne's final report.
Michael Roddan, a finance journalist with The Australian, has written a rollicking page-turner that doesn't shy away from skewering some of the banks' worst offenders. The book employs a sharp, acerbic wit making The People Vs. the Banks an entertainment, almost a lark and a frolic. That doesn't distract from the serious issues at stake. Roddan devotes chapters to some of the cases the royal commission covered, but the media forgot, such as the treatment of indigenous Australians by the finance sector. A worthy document of a sorry history in Australia's corporate culture.
The People Vs. the Banks, by Michael Roddan. Published by Melbourne University Press. RRP: $34.99
Review by Chris Saliba