CBA whistleblower blasts bank's advice review program

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A former Commonwealth Bank employee has lambasted the bank's advice review program, claiming it was designed to minimise the compensation paid to customers.

Former CBA assessor Russell Phillips has given evidence about the bank's advice program at a Senate hearing in Melbourne, The Sydney Morning Herald has reported. Phillips, who worked in the bank's Open Advice Review Program, claimed that the scheme was trying to lower the cost of compensation paid to clients.

"I feel very strongly that the scheme is not fair, it lacks integrity and apart from that it's very opaque to outsiders," Phillips said.

According to The SMH, in the 14 months CBA has run the program it has compensated only 19 customers less than half a million dollars. Meanwhile, the bank has received more than 8,000 requests for file reviews from clients.

Phillips also claimed that assessors were at no point allowed to meet with clients of the bank's authorised financial planners to aid their reviews of customer files, The Herald said.

Senator Sam Dastyari called the evidence "explosive", and chastised the bank for what he called "a culture of cover-up and complacency".

"The Australian Senate was given assurances that this program was about putting the victims first and providing justice. Today's evidence, if found to be true, blows that out of the water," Dastyari said.