For most of this year, the hearings of the banking royal commission and the allegations against the Commonwealth Bank have been among the most headline worthy. The bank’s senior management and much of its board have been turned over as a response to these claims and the Austrac money laundering scandal. The combination of these problems have led to a spate of gloom and doom articles about the poor outlook for banking generally, weak earnings and bad news for shareholders -- sending share prices lower until late June when they turned up as the end of the financial year (for the CBA) approached.
The real story is that the CBA has sailed through this turbulence with very little lasting damage. Shareholders have been kept sweet with a small rise to a record high for their dividend of $4.31 a share, as well as a sharp turnaround in the share price since mid June. The rebound in the shares and the bank’s solid 2017-18 financial performance underscores all those concerns about CBA and its peers being like cockroaches -- able to survive the financial equivalent of nuclear war.