A senior National Australia Bank executive insists the bank has been candid with the corporate regulator ASIC despite it only hinting at the true scale of fees-for-no-service compensation.
NAB has been accused of delaying revealing the full compensation amount in 2016 to avoid being labelled "the worst of a bad bunch" - charging fees for no service and overshadowing its annual profit result.
Andrew Hagger, the executive in charge of NAB's six million retail customers, repeatedly told the banking royal commission he was open and transparent with ASIC as the regulator finalised an industry report in October 2016.
The royal commission heard ASIC was given hints but not directly told the full compensation to superannuation customers would be $34 million - double the amount in the draft fees-for-no-service report.
After weekend discussions among senior bank executives including CEO Andrew Thorburn about what the regulator should be told, it was decided that Mr Hagger would contact an ASIC commissioner on the Monday to "open the door".
The inquiry heard Mr Hagger gave Greg Tanzer hints about the full compensation in roundabout terms, with the chief customer officer saying it was up to the commissioner to decide what he wanted to ask and put in the report.
"That then put it out of our hands whether it should be included or not because the invitation was there for ASIC to include it if they wanted it," Mr Hagger said on Monday.
Royal commissioner Kenneth Hayne QC questioned if being open and transparent was accomplished by saying "ask us what you like but we won't tell you what to ask".
Mr Hagger agreed, saying "we were hinting to them what to ask" and noting that the superannuation trustee board meetings were coming up.
But he admitted he did not tell Mr Tanzer the board of the superannuation trustee's administrator, which he chaired, had just approved the full remediation amount a couple of hours earlier.
Mr Hagger said he did not want to pre-empt the decision of the board of trustee NULIS, which still had to approve the full remediation.
The ball was in ASIC's court, he said after being issued with a summons on Friday to appear at the inquiry.
"I could not have opened the door any wider."
Mr Hagger denied he was not being candid with ASIC.
The inquiry heard if the full extent of NAB's plan service fee compensation to superannuation customers was included in the ASIC report, it would go from being in the middle of the pack to the worst of the banks.
Mr Hagger said that did not drive the decision about what to tell ASIC, nor did the fact the bank's annual results were about to be released.
He said he would have been happy to tell ASIC the $34 million figure "if they asked".
The compensation now totals about $120 million.
ASIC is investigating "suspected offending" by NAB over fees-for-no-service, but the bank denies committing any criminal acts.