National Australia Bank will ditch its controversial “introducer” home loan referral program in an effort to clean up its reputation in the wake of the Royal Commission as big banks compete on the speed with which they can improve their image.

The move will place pressure on the other banks to follow NAB in putting an end to the practice of paying people a commission to recommend new mortgage customers.

For chairman-elect Phil Chronican, who is the face of the cleaner, more customer-oriented and better-behaving NAB, this move would have to have been a no-brainer. Paying unlicensed, unqualified and fairly random members of the community to funnel new mortgage customers to a particular bank should have set off alarm bells far earlier.

Commissioner Kenneth Hayne estimated NAB paid out $100 million in commissions between 2013 to 2016 to an array of people from gym instructors, hairdressers, and taxi drivers to members of local sporting clubs to act as spotters of would-be borrowers.