EVERYONE knew the royal commission into the banks would be ugly. We were all familiar with the stories of brutal foreclosures and crashing insensitivity to the personal hardships of farmers and battlers.
But nobody expected what we have seen this week: the exposure of unethical, unjustifiable and possibly criminal activity at the heart of these powerful financial institutions.
The great shame of this conduct is not just the seriously damaged reputations of the banks, but the personal blow to the many thousands of decent, hardworking, ethical people who show up every day for work in branches and call centres, doing their best to solve problems for customers, to finance dream homes and to facilitate small businesses to get up and running. The banks, and those they employ, are the cornerstones of our economy. We need them to be profitable. But most of all, we need them to have integrity, in every sense of the word.