It was a complicated, galling, and gasp-inducing year at the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.
It wasn’t just the long list of scandals exposed to a horrified nation—charging fees to dead people, ignoring blatant conflicts of interest, and taking $1 billion from customers in fees that banks were never entitled to.
What made it so fascinating, so heart-breaking, and so enraging was the procession of faces through the witness box, and the team of counsel gazing into the dark heart of banking.
Tearful victims, blank-faced executives, hapless regulators, and a couple of utter charlatans all had their day in court, watched by an audience of millions, and revealing—in their stories—the material to justify re-shaping the multi-trillion dollar financial-services industry that forms a pillar of Australian life.
A Wunch of Bankers covers not just the big shocks, but the small moments—lost in the flurry of daily reporting—that reveal how companies have used the law, limp enforcement, and basic human behavior to take advantage of customers.
Is there a phrase that allows life-insurance spruikers in call centers to terrify you about your impending death—and the grief-stricken ruins of an estate you’ll leave for your bereaved family—while still being legal? Yes, there is.
Was there a meeting in which a bank’s executives ignored a warning of ‘Extreme’ from its chief risk officer, to embark on a dodgy scheme that accrued $3.6 billion in funds? There was.
In A Wunch of Bankers, the World’s Oldest Debuting TV Reporter brings out the color and grit of the royal commission’s proceedings, and explores broader issues raised by the testimony. A compelling mixture of analysis, reportage, and observation, it is a revelatory work.