Sustainable Business Practices - CommBank Sustainability Report 2014

Sustainability Reporting 2014

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Sustainable Business Practices

Disciplined financial management and rigorous governance are essential in bringing ongoing value to customers, shareholders and the broader community. It's why we believe a focus on productivity, transparency and accountability will continue contributing to the long-term sustainability of the business.


A strong contributor to the Australian economy

  • The Group provides finance to more than 2 million home owners, and serves ~15 million customers.
  • With more than 52,000 people, the Group's annual payroll expenditure is more than $5 billion.
  • 75 per cent of our profit is returned to more than 800,000 Australians who hold our shares directly, and millions more who hold them through superannuation funds.
  • Our annual tax bill of $3.2 billion makes us one of Australia's largest taxpayers.
  • We directly help more than 200 grassroots community organisations make a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of Australian youth.
  • 280,000 students across the country benefit from a range of financial literacy programs we deliver.

Key financial results

  2012 2013 2014
Cash NPAT - $ billion 7.1 7.8 8.7
ROE (cash) - % 18.6 18.4 18.7
Tax paid - $ billion 2.7 3.0 3.2
Dividends paid to shareholders
- $ billion
5.3 5.8 6.5
Salaries and related expenses paid to our employees - $ billion 4.9 5.1 5.5

Where does our income go? FY 2014

A strong contributor to the Australian economy graph
A strong contributor to the Australian economy

Preventing financial crime

Financial crime can take many forms. Accordingly, we place great importance on implementing comprehensive policies and procedures that:

  • Provide a secure banking environment for customers.
  • Ensure our people maintain the highest professional standards and act with integrity at all times.

The fight against bribery and corruption

Integrity is one of the Group's core values. To bring it to life the Board approved a more robust Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy in December 2013.

And because we recognise that bribery and corruption are global problems that can have an adverse effect on communities wherever they occur, the policy's principles commit the Group to zero tolerance to bribery, corruption and facilitation payments across all areas and levels of the business.

To ensure this culture of zero tolerance is embedded across the Group comprehensive award-winning training has been developed and deployed. This training is mandatory for all employees, directors and contractors. It is available in four languages: English, Bahasa Indonesia, Simplified Chinese and Vietnamese.

In addition, face to face workshops have been held for senior managers in order to ensure appropriate processes and controls are established and monitored across the business.

Find out more about our approach to preventing financial crime.

Our commitment to a culture of “Speaking Up”

All employees, service providers and suppliers are encouraged to seek advice and report concerns about unethical behaviour and corruption via internal mechanisms or our new independent Speak Up telephone hotline.

Our Whistleblower Protection Policy and procedures ensure that reports are treated appropriately and that the person raising the concern is protected.


CommBank has zero tolerance to bribery, corruption and facilitation payments.



Alongside strength, people and technology, productivity is one of the Group's four strategic objectives. Sustainable ‘productivity’ requires balancing the demands of continuously improving our service offerings against the ever-pressing need to manage short-term expenses.

Through the successful execution of our productivity program over several years, the Group has been able to avoid short-term cost cutting initiatives that can damage morale and undermine long-term value.

We remain committed to avoiding:

  • Setting targets for reducing people numbers, and
  • Offshoring Australian jobs.

During the year we've made significant progress in embedding a productivity culture throughout the Group with the rollout of extensive training and the introduction of a team accreditation program.

However, the most significant benefits of these wide-ranging initiatives will likely be felt in the medium term. For example, our Retail Bank Procurement program was established to identify opportunities for consolidating supplier spend and eliminating waste in our business processes. To date this program has delivered significant savings.

Productivity image

Government and industry engagement

The Group engaged with the former Labor and new Coalition Federal Governments throughout 2013 and 2014 to continue a constructive dialogue on issues covering the financial services industry and economic growth generally.

The new Government established a Financial System Inquiry to set out a 'blueprint' for the financial system over the next decade.

The Group has actively participated in the Inquiry and believes that the Inquiry should focus on three priorities to build on the inherent stability and resilience of the Australian financial system:

  • Support a strong banking system to fund Australia's growth.
  • Harness the potential of the digital economy while protecting customers' information.
  • Ensure security in retirement with a sustainable superannuation system.

The future will be shaped by the role that technology plays in our globalised lives, the opportunity offered for an ageing population by a growing pool of retirement savings and the influence of offshore forces.

Click here for the Group's full submission including our recommendations to the Inquiry Panel. The Group also participated in (or contributed to) submissions made by the Australian Bankers' Association and Financial Services Council.

In 2013-14 the Group participated in several Parliamentary Inquiries to inform policymakers about our support for the Government's amendments to the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) reforms.

The Group also provided submissions to the Senate Economics References Committee in relation to its Inquiry into the performance of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Following the release of this Senate Inquiry report, in July 2014, the Group announced Commonwealth Bank's Open Advice Review program, which is designed to deliver an efficient, fair and consistent outcome for any customer of Commonwealth Financial Planning and Financial Wisdom who may have received poor financial advice between 1 September 2003 and 1 July 2012.