The Finance Sector Union of Australia (FSU) has welcomed comments by Royal Commissioner Kenneth Hayne QC that non-Disclosure disclosure Agreements agreements and various employment and separation agreements between financial services corporations and their workers will not be allowed to inhibit the work of the inquiry.

“We raised concerns that non-disclosure agreements Non-Disclosure Agreements had the potential to impact on the free flow of information and evidence to the Commission. and we are very happy that MrCommissioner Haynes has made clear his intention to use his coercive powers to make sure questions are answered and documents are produced,” said FSU National Secretary Julia Angrisano.

“Commissioner Haynes’ comments today should give consumers and employees of banks and financial services entities confidence to come forward to tell their stories,” Ms Angrisano said.

“His comments that under the Royal Commissions Act, ‘no injury can be done’ to a witness giving evidence or producing documents when called on by the commission, should serve as a warning to banking and financial services providers.”

Ms Angrisano said it was a positive step for the Commission to suggest any such attempt by a bank or financial services provider to use legal agreements to gag people would invite questions about their motives for doing so.

“We are hoping this Royal Commission will finally reveal the ‘misconduct and conduct falling below community expectations’ which have plagued the banking and financial services sector in recent years.”

“In particular,, the first case study into inappropriate or unsuitable lending, touches on a major issue for the FSU, which is the failures of the banks to improve systemic behaviours around the pressure banks they continue to exert on staff to meet sales lending targets.”

“In the case of inappropriate lending, we are pleased that Counsel Assisting Rowena Orr QC has indicated she would be attempting to reveal the activities of senior management and directors by answering the question: How and why were such events permitted to occur?”

“We agree with Commissioner Hayne is correct to observe that Australians deserve to be treated honestly and fairly in their dealings with banks and financial services entities. and FSU members are hopeful that his inquiry will reveals the full extent of corporate misbehaviour in the sector and brings about the cultural changes that will benefit both consumers and workers.”

Media contact John Hill 0412197079