Century-old farm lost after ANZ action
Century-old farm lost after ANZ action The ANZ letter kicking off the process that led to his family losing its century-old sheep farm came a few weeks after Stephen Harley's heart attack.
© Supplied Senior counsel assisting Rowena Orr says there has been "misconduct" in banks' treatment of farmers. It is open for the royal commission to find ANZ Bank engaged in "misconduct" in its treatment of a range of farmers that became customers after it bought the rural lender Landmark, senior counsel Rowena Orr says.
Following two weeks of public hearings focused on farming and remote areas, Ms Orr on Friday delivered "open findings" that could be made by Commissioner Kenneth Hayne, alleging multiple cases of "misconduct" at ANZ Bank.
Commonwealth Bank's Bankwest may have also engaged in “misconduct” by breaching the code in several ways in its treatment of Queensland cattle farmer Mel Ruddy, which included relying on an old valuation to trigger a default, Ms Orr said.
Rogue banker who inflated loan values rewarded with Hayman Island trip
A Bankwest banker who quit under a cloud of "conduct issues", including inflated property valuations, had previously been given a trip to Hayman Island.But after the Queensland banker resigned in 2012 and the bank became aware of his botched valuations, it failed to tell all the customers affected by this conduct, the royal commission heard on Thursday.
RaboBank is another lender that may have engaged in "misconduct" in its treatment of Queensland farmer Wendy Brauer and her husband, Ms Orr said. Ms Brauer last week told the commission the couple was left $1 million worse off after a loan to buy a farm from a bank manager, who was also working for other parties on the deal.
In her closing address, Ms Orr pointed to a range of examples that could be seen as "misconduct" by ANZ towards former Landmark clients, including instances where the bank was too quick to take enforcement action, or refused reasonable settlement offers from clients.
Ms Orr suggested some of the behaviour by ANZ was a breach of the industry code of conduct, while other instances fell short of community expectations. She did suggest breaches of the law relating to ANZ and Landmark.
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A root cause of the misconduct was that ANZ underestimated the number of struggling loans it was acquiring when it bought Landmark in 2010, according to Ms Orr.
Bank fees eroding up to 10% of income in remote communities
Bank fees can chew up as much as a fifth of the incomes of some consumers living in remote Indigenous communities, the royal commission heard on Tuesday. Nathan Boyle, who works in the Australian Securities and Investments Commission's indigenous outreach program, told the royal commission in Darwin about the disproportionate impact of account-keeping fees, informal overdrafts, ATM fees, and dishonour fees on vulnerable consumers.© Supplied ASIC's Nathan Boyle, and Lynda Edwards, from Financial Counselling Australia, at the royal commission on Tuesday.
“ANZ did not calculate the number of incoming customers who were going to experience financial difficulty,” Ms Orr said in Darwin.
There was also a lack of training with ANZ's "lending services" branch that dealt with struggling customers, and many former Landmark staff left the bank, leading to a loss of corporate memory.
'Lack of empathy'
It was also open for Commissioner Hayne to find that misconduct by ANZ was caused by the culture in lending services, which Ms Orr said showed a “lack of empathy” and failed to consider the emotional impact of its enforcement actions.
ANZ's head of lending services, Benjamin Steinberg, admitted on several occasions that the bank's conduct had fallen below expectations when he appeared before the commission in Brisbane last week.
Earlier on Friday, ANZ was quizzed about the practice of providing "informal" overdraft facilities to customers who may well be denied a formal overdraft if they applied for one.
Counsel assisting Mark Costello tabled a bank statement from an Indigenous customer on Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory, who was on Centrelink benefits and was charged nine overdrawn fees in the space of two weeks, costing him $54. Informal overdrafts also attract interest rates of about 17 per cent, the commision heard.
Commissioner Hayne opened the hearings on Friday by saying he was asking CBA for more information about why it was late handing in documents last week relating to its rural lending.
“Having considered what was said in the letter of 3 July, I have asked the solicitor assisting the commission to seek further explanation from the solicitors for CBA regarding some questions which arise from the terms of their letter,” Commissioner Hayne said
“A letter to that effect was sent soon after yesterday’s hearings finished. In the circumstances I am not yet in the position to decide what course I should follow in relation to these matters.”
A-League 2018-19 full draw, fixtures, games: Blockbusters headline announcement, Melbourne Victory's nightmare run home .
The A-League draw has been released with blockbusters aplenty, but the champions face a hellish finish to the season.Marvel Stadium, formerly known as Etihad Stadium, will host a Melbourne derby between Victory and City on the Saturday of the opening weekend, with the season kicking off in Adelaide as the Reds welcome Sydney FC at Coopers Stadium on Friday, October 19.