The chairman of ASB bank says it will bring forward the next review of how it processes and approves executive expenses following the departure of former ANZ boss David Hisco over an expenses dispute.
ANZ announced Monday that Hisco would be departing his $3 million plus a year job immediately after an investigation which alleged he "mis-characterised" certain personal expenses as business expenses.
Those expenses, which ran into the "tens of thousands of dollars" over Hisco's nine-year stint as chief executive, included personal use of chauffeur-driven cars and storage of wine in Australia - his country of birth.
Now rival ASB bank's board has asked for the company to bring forward a review of its executive expenses.
ASB chairman Gavin Walker said the bank had a "robust delegation framework and processes for the processing and approval of the expenses of our senior executives".
"As part of this, all CEO business expenses are reviewed and signed off by the chairman of the board."
Walker said that framework and processes were reviewed regularly but it wants that brought forward in light of the Hisco situation.
"The board has requested the next review be brought forward in light of recent external events."
But others don't appear to be taking any immediate action.
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Westpac New Zealand board chair Jan Dawson said it had confidence in the bank's audit processes.
"Westpac has a comprehensive set of controls across expenditure at all levels in the organisation, including regular reviews and audits.
"Our internal processes are periodically refreshed and updated to reflect best practice and to ensure that they meet the expectations of our customers, stakeholders and regulators."
"The board has confidence in our audit processes across the organisation."
BNZ chairman Doug McKay said all executives at the bank had their expenses scrutinised.
"All our executive including the CEO's expenses are scrutinised before approval.
"Like other organisations, we keep a close watch on all our employees' expenses".
Susan Macken chair of the Kiwibank board said she personally reviewed all expenditure by its chief executive Steve Jurkovich.
"I'm confident in assuring bank customers that he has not been using company money to pay for personal expenses."
Macken said Kiwibank had a strong culture and high expectations of its people to do the right thing.
"We have independent external auditors conducting annual reviews of business expenses using the Auditor General's sensitive expenditure guidelines.
"We also conduct regular internal audits which examine payments made by senior leaders."
The last external audit of the Kiwibank CEO was undertaken in 2017 and the next review would be later this year, she said.
"In addition, Kiwibank has clear policies on what expenditure is considered acceptable. The bank also conducts spot audits on company credit cards throughout the year."
Macken said she anticipated banks would be looking closely at executive expenditure.
"I anticipate banks will be shining a light on this matter and will of course consider any improvements to our processes to further demonstrate transparency to our shareholders and customers."
An ANZ spokeswoman said its internal processes were being reviewed as a result of what had happened but did not answer questions about whether the board in New Zealand or Australia had signed off on Hisco's expenses as appears to be standard practice at other banks.
She said the ANZ Group CEO reviewed credit card expenses by all members of the ANZ group executive committee.
ANZ New Zealand chairman Sir John Key said Monday the anomalies in Hisco's expenses had come to light three months ago following a review that ANZ Group CEO Shayne Elliott undertook of some members of his executive committee.
"At that stage we weren't aware what that all meant - there could have been plausible explanations for that."
Then the banks' integrity team investigated further.
Key said Hisco believed he had an agreement with the previous group chief executive of the Australian bank over the use of chauffeur-driven cars.
"David is adamant he had authority for the expenditure undertaken, if he did have that authority is it oral in nature. It is difficult to establish one way or the other."
But Key said the heart of the issue was the way the expenditure was recognised in its books.
"It was either in our view mischaracterised or there was a lack of transparency. Not the money itself but the way it was recognised in the ANZ books."
It looked like a business expense when it was a personal expense, Key said.
"We as an organisation and the New Zealand board and me as chairman expect transparency from not only our CEO but every person that works for this company.
"We have to be able to have trust in what people are recognising in our records.
"In that regard David would say he didn't meet the standards he set for himself and the rest of his staff."
Asked why it had taken nine years for the issue to come to light, Key said it was because the expenditure had gone through direct charge backs rather than being charged to a credit card, which was normal for use of cars.
"These are also reviewed from time to time but because it was mischaracterised they were difficult to pick up."
"We constantly do reviews and seek to improve the way we look at information and learn from that. As part of that process we found it. "
Key said the fact it had found it showed it was thorough and took it seriously.
"They are not easy things to pick up," he said.
Hisco is believed to be overseas recuperating from health issues which he initially went on leave for at the end of May and has not responded to requests for comment.
The Reserve Bank has said the ANZ bank told it about Hisco's expenses dispute on May 29 but the bank didn't publicly announce it until June 17.