Clarification of article that appeared in The Herald Sun, The Daily Telegraph and The Mercury

23 September 2003

Following misreporting of comments made by the Bank's CEO on Business Sunday, the following Letter to the Editor was forwarded to the Herald Sun, Melbourne. Similar letters were forwarded to The Daily Telegraph, Sydney and The Mercury, Hobart.

I refer to an article that appeared in your edition of 22 September 2003 under the headline "Bank confirms fee rise" and would like to express extreme disappointment at the blatant misleading nature of the headline and the opening paragraph.

The Commonwealth Bank CEO did not at any stage of his interview on Business Sunday confirm that he had planned higher charges. In fact, he clearly explained that there were no immediate plans to put any fees up. This can be confirmed from the extracts of the interview (below).

Given the seriousness of this misreporting, it would be appreciated if the Bank’s position could be clarified with your readers, accompanied by an apology.

Extract David Murray Interview relating to Fees
Business Sunday 21 September 2003

ALI MOORE: Where do fees sit in your forecast? What are fees doing over the next three years?

DAVID MURRAY: In calculating all of the effects across 20 programs as part of this project we have not assumed a change in rates, we’ve assumed a change in volumes as a general rule.

ALI MOORE: So you are saying fees won’t go up?

DAVID MURRAY: Well I can never say that, no company in the world can say that but we want our service to be valuable to our customers and it is our efficiencies that help the one component in helping that happen and we’re doing our best to change those efficiencies.

ALI MOORE: So can you say that in terms of your modelling there should be no increase in fees as result of this project?

DAVID MURRAY: No I can’t say that but what I can say is we will be highly competitive and produce superior value both in the cost of the service and the type of the service that we provide.

ALI MOORE: So how much are fees going up?

DAVID MURRAY: I don’t have any immediate plans to put any fees up but we can say that our service will be of great value. That is how we measure what does a customer, want when do they need it, do we know them well, do we know how to deliver what they want and can we do it with great value to them.