The big four banks have injected an extra $37 million into community programs, as the finance sector fights to repair its reputation in the wake of the Hayne banking royal commission, the Australian Financial Review reports.
The 28 per cent jump in philanthropic giving by the big banks from $139 million to $178 million for the half-year to December was led by Commonwealth Bank of Australia, which increased its donations by $20 million.
CBA was followed by National Australia Bank, up by $12 million, ANZ up $6 million, while Westpac was up $1.3 million.
The half-year total of $585 million for giving by the ASX50 is on track to pass last year’s annual total of $867 million but is unlikely to match the highs of 2015, when giving by BHP and Rio Tinto was at record levels.
Philanthropy experts welcomed the boost but warned the banks need to properly direct the money so they are not seen as simply paying off the community for their misconduct.
“A splash of cash to the community does not justify the evident misconduct of the sector,” said Jarrod Miles, co-founder of Strive Philanthropy which prepared the GivingLarge analysis. “Corporate community investment should never be used as a kind of payback for corporate misbehaviour.”
Big four banks’ $37m charity boost prompts Hayne payback warning (Australian Financial Review)