So that’s what the new beginning feels like?

Today I started my graduate law degree …

This is me this morning, at 7am – all good to go, about to start studying …

21July14amlook at that smile, I’m just excited … right?  You can see that – I am positively giddy I’m so excited to start Open-mouthed smile.  I have my study guides, my books, I have a plan people – I have a plan for annotated bibliographies, I have a plan for timetabling, journaling, note-taking and getting things done … I am on top of things. 

Just remember it’s 7 in the morning and it’s looking pretty good about now.

The four units I’m studying this semester are Introduction to Legal Studies, Legal Interpretation, Torts, and Contracts.  So, this morning it was all about getting to know my way around the Blackboard for all the units, signing up for tutorials, knowing when the lectures would be up and of-course – get started on all that reading.

Well, this is me now … I think we can safely say I’m knackered bahahaha Smile with tongue out 

end21July14_donestudyin'

Oh well, looks like I’m in for a heck of a learning curve Winking smile but it’s all good, I’m sure if Jesus could walk on water I can learn to walk on shhhhhhhhhhh Rolling on the floor laughing *

So for the next little while (hey, what’s three years among friends? Smile ) I’ll be blogging about this bank stuff as I’m thinking about it studying – apparently I can’t read a legal tome without contemplating how it relates to what happened to us (and is still happening to others).  I note that one of the readings today was about the duties of legal professionals – interesting choice by the lecturer I thought (one day I should blog about the specifics in my life right now that makes it so, but for now this is another matter of shhhhhhhhhhhhhh). Sleepy smile

So while I try to wrap my head around being a law student (who’da thunk?  definitely not me – I’d still rather be milking the cow and tending the sheep – but I digress – sorry ‘bout that) – do yourselves a favour – take care out there in banksterland Winking smile

 

* for all the easily offended people, I did not just pull a John Lennon … I just figure walking on something solid would have to be easier than the trick required by the son of God, all I have to do really is stop being such a princess and be prepared to put up with a little bit of crap  Smile with tongue out

More on ASIC report

Why am I not surprised that the Abbott government is ignoring the calls for a Royal Commission altogether?  Ah, that’s right, it’s because I know how the system works, having been enlightened by former Senator Paul McLean (okay, read his book Bankers and Bastards and met someone who knows the real reason the senator quit after trying to get a Royal Commission into the Westpac Letters scandal).  The media would be in a feeding frenzy if they knew the true level of corruption within the corridors of power … or do they already know and it’s just the price of playing poker to not talk about it?  (I imagine it’s the latter)

I’m still annoyed about aspects of the report issued by the senate committee – but the truth is that while there is so much corruption within politics, and while corporations can buy whatever they want, whether that be legal rulings, the police, and their pollie mates, and so on – well, nothing will change.

And I am still not convinced that banks win in court fair and square when it is their employees changing customers’ information.  I’ve heard too many details of court cases where outright fraud is simply ignored … this isn’t wilful blindness it’s simply corruption of the legal system.

And when politicians say that there is nothing customers can do about the fraud because the fraud happened in the application process and courts can only look at the terms of the contract … well shit a fucking brick* … just shows how ignorant they really are eh?  And it also shows there’s no depths they will not plumb to get their rich mates off …  but I’m not really cynical, honest, not me, I have total and utter faith in the legal system pffffttttt.

Today is Bastille Day … a day that makes me hopeful that one day I too will get to celebrate the day we started our own revolution against the corruption that is destroying Australian lives … viva la revolution!

… while I wait for the guillotines we ordered from the French to arrive; do yourselves a favour … take care out there in banksterland Winking smile

 

*apologies for the intemperate language but shit a brick how much more obvious can they make it that they have zero care factor for Mr & Mrs bloody Average?  Oooops, here I go again Embarrassed smile

Senate report into ASIC

Last week I was emailed my copy of the Senate Committee’s report into ASIC and while I haven’t read all of it yet, I have skimmed a few interesting sections.   My first impression is that there is a lot of justification for ASIC’s poor performance.  I note with dismay that the Executive Summary acknowledges that ASIC is “too willing to accept uncritically the assurances of a large institution that there were no grounds for ASIC’s concerns or intervention”.  This sentiment alone totally ignores the testimony of former ASIC lawyer James Wheeldon that he was “required to report to Grant Jones, a more senior lawyer” … and it turns out this lawyer was not an employee of ASIC at all.  His story makes an interesting read – and clearly shows that ASIC is not the naive “aww shucks but we think everybody is really noice and would never do anything to shaft ordinary Aussies” watchdog but has an agenda to protect big corporations by covering up major fraud.  Great gig, especially when this is quaintly described as a conflict of interest later in the report.

Within the Executive Summary mention is made of my favourite hobby horse – the enforceable undertaking.  My biggest gripe has always been that had ASIC actually followed up on the enforceable undertaking back in 2004 chances are that what happened to us could not have happened.  The bank would have changed some of its practices and given a modicum of protection to hapless customers who could not protect themselves from the actions of rogue employees because customers had no clue such a beast existed and that the safeguards weren’t really safeguards.  The committee recommends that ASIC follows up on these enforceable undertakings to make sure that similar misconduct does not occur.

The committee also addresses another issue I raised in my submission – that ASIC has far too many things to keep an eye on – including business registration so it is not functioning properly in any area, rather it is failing on several fronts.  So the recommendation is that the registry function of ASIC should be transferred to another department (business registrations used to be handled by each state).

I’m rather fond of the proposed whistleblower protection section – perhaps by finally addressing this issue whistleblowers will be able to come forward and help victims of financial fraud instead of being forced to stay silent.  Another recommendation I’m in favour of is the call for an inquiry into “current criminal and civil penalties available across the legislation ASIC administers” – it’d be nice to jail bank managers who fail to inform their customers that the bank rejected their loan application and then proceed to fabricate a second application which then somehow, magically gets approved despite acknowledgement that the customer cannot meet repayments but hey, they have property so lets call that plan b and sell everything out from under them when they drown under the debt we’ve fraudulently created!

I did notice that I’m a footnote in Part II – excellent, my contribution was noted Smile.

I’m still working through the report, and note that despite the overwhelming evidence of fraud and maladministration of loan by various banks, the committee only recommends a limited Royal Commission into CBA … and moves are already afoot to ensure no Royal Commission is held.  Wonder why that would be?

Hopefully with a bit of encouragement we can have a full, comprehensive inquiry into all the shoddy lending practices of all the banks – those of us who have been thoroughly destroyed by the banks in their endless grab for market share and our money and assets deserve nothing less.

Anyway, do yourselves a favour … take care out there in banksterland Winking smile

Wilful Blindness and all that

I’ve started researching the concept of wilful blindness and how this affects people like me … the government (whatever the flavour) cannot claim to be unaware of any fraud and corruption within the financial services sector, ASIC cannot claim there are no cases, FOS misses obvious fraud when investigating complaints against banks, the police don’t even bother to investigate this particular white collar crime. 

So what are we looking at?  Is it wilful blindness or corruption at a scale too large to comprehend?  While individuals can and probably will claim that they didn’t realise the complaints were all based on facts that could have been proven in a court of law – when the sheer number of complaints is ignored I can only draw one conclusion … the government is helping in the cover-up to make sure not one of the Big Four has to pay the ultimate price for their insatiable greed and unfettered crime spree. That’s what I would call the fraud that’s going on where there are most likely thousands of loans with altered Loan Application Forms  – altered to ensure the loan would get approved, despite the perpetrator knowing full well that the consequences to the hapless customer  who cannot afford the loan – it’s a crime spree of mega proportions.

Considering the consequences of just one bank failing are so huge, I can understand why the government would go so far to protect them … take any of the big banks and consider the impact on ordinary families, never mind small and big businesses.  Remember how bad it is when a bank’s systems go down and customers can’t use ATMs, internet banking, direct debits don’t work, pays don’t get paid and everything stops?  Now imagine the fallout if that bank was taken out permanently … can you imagine the impact of, say, the Commonwealth Bank being held to account for everything they were accused of in the Senate Economics Committee’s Inquiry into the banking sector post GFC?  Never mind the other complaints against them like the insurance rort.  It wouldn’t just be the bank paying the price for their unconscionable actions but the country. 

It’s tempting to think that ‘better the devil you know’ and sacrifice a few people who got caught in the scams … but the number of people now on welfare because their lives were destroyed by the direct actions of a bank is growing at a time when the government is trying to cut back on welfare.  I think they’re targeting the wrong group myself but maybe the government actually does know what it’s doing and has a plan to deal with the mighty banks?  Maybe I’m once again in my happy bubble and I’m not seeing the big picture, but the proposal to further de-regulate banking in Australia to allow foreign banks greater access to the Australian market might not be a move to get the NWO agenda more firmly established in Australia.  Maybe, just maybe, the Abbott government wants to have some more big league banks onshore so that when they take the legs out from under one of the four pillars that the impact on the Australian economy won’t be quite so catastrophic*.  I just hope that the government is up to the task of cleaning out a corrupt system that has spread its tentacles through so many professions and agencies … but there have been too many brave souls trying to inform the public of just how corrupt the financial services sector is and all they’ve gotten is ignored and ridiculed. 

Wise Geek has an article on Wilful Blindness, here are some excerpts:

In the law, willful blindness is a deliberate attempt to remain ignorant about facts which might make someone liable. In many regions of the world, it is not accepted as a defense and can in fact be prosecuted. This is also sometimes known as contrived ignorance or willful ignorance.

another paragraph reads:

One reason willful blindness is not generally considered a good defense to illegal activity is that, in most cases, it would have been reasonable to suspect that illegal activity was occurring. In cases where there was a high probability that actions might be suspect and people fail to ask for information, they can still be held liable under the argument that they should have been aware, or that they had reasonable belief that something was illegal, even if they did not necessarily know what.

My reading on this is that once  the government was aware that the newly deregulated banks were acting in a criminal manner and should have been prosecuted rather than ignored there was a fear that the government would be liable for the ensuing damage.  The banks were deregulated in 1983 (and foreign banks were allowed to operate in Australia but somehow the Four Pillars ruled supreme?) and as early as 1991 there were calls into a Royal Commission into banking malpractice.  Having gotten away with such massive fraud, and given that the Westpac letters outlined a compelling legal strategy when dealing with disgruntled customers (well, they did have a reason to be disgruntled, since they’d been scammed by banks), the banks simply upped the ante and came up with more elaborate scams to fleece customers.  Meanwhile the government and all its agencies that were supposed to protect customers stood idly by and let the carnage happen.  I’m not sure I can agree that this is simply a matter of wilful blindness – I’m thinking the real term is corruption and it’s time to act, to take out the garbage …

So do yourself a favour – take care out there in banksterland Winking smile

* see, I have a happy bubble and I don’t believe everything I read in the MSM these days, but I do understand I am drawing a very long bow … I just really wish one of the banks would disappear from the scene Surprised smile

 

Some follow up reading:

Sydney Morning Herald: CBA ignored evidence of $100m fraud

Westpac Letters:  from Austlii

Sydney Morning Herald: Secret trade negotiations: is this the end of the big four?

Some details on the types of fraud committed (not just by brokers, but bank employees) Daily Reckoning

Open Australia: Senate Debates  – I’d like to draw your attention to the comments of Senators John Williams and Alan Eggleston in particular

… and banks still beating up on victims

It’s been a while since I posted, I was working on a post about how the government has dropped the ball because they simply refuse to close the loopholes in B2B lending that allows the banks to destroy SMEs for whatever reason (I believe this is caused by the pay incentives offered by the banks in tandem with the threat employees face if they fail to meet lending targets – but that’s based more on gut feeling that actually looking at hard numbers … I don’t think anyone has actually ever compiled the data to show the relationship between bonus payments and the subsequent demise of the customer).

Anyway, I was happily researching this when the proverbial poo hit the fan on numerous fronts – some are just plain old annoying (fancy describing a legal issue as annoying … who’da thunk I’d get into that headspace … as in ever?  Smile with tongue out ) but there was something profoundly sad too that really derailed me.  So it’s been a couple of weeks on an emotional roller coaster where ordinary life also kicked up the work factor a notch or two.

There is continuing reporting of the various bank schemes that make it into court, the rare occasion when ASIC actually does its job (I know, this is unusual, but then again, ASIC only acts after the proverbial horse has bolted so it’s still far too late for people already screwed over).

I’m dismayed that there are still a large number of people who are caught in illegal operations, where the banks know there has been major crime and that there is a police investigation underway – and yet they still take their customers to the cleaners … just because they can

CBA is said to have foreclosed on the homes of victims despite the bank being alerted to the alleged scam for more than four years, reported The Age.

for full story go to http://www.brokernews.com.au/news/breaking-news/newsletter-188203.aspx

I really have to wonder how much of an ass the law really is when victims can be hit with a double whammy and lose everything just so the banks can keep on keeping on.  I’m not sure who disgusts me more – the mongrel bankster who makes the call to put victims into foreclosure or the lawyer who helps the bank screw over innocent customers … it’s a close call but you’d think that there would be a line these tossers wouldn’t cross wouldn’t you?  Guess not …

Anyway, that’s today’s rant, on a positive note, I did get accepted into the law program I applied for and am now officially a law student … not sure if that’s a good thing or not; right now – I’m scared I might become a tosser Rolling on the floor laughing but I comfort myself that there are actually decent human beings who happen to be legal professionals, if they can maintain a level of integrity then surely I can too?  hmmmm

And don’t forget … take care out there in banksterland Winking smile

Duty of care and other stuff

The other day I posted about how sometimes a bank manager doesn’t actually cross the line, that sometimes the bank didn’t do anything wrong legally so there’s no point in fighting them (since this is an expensive exercise in every possible way including the emotional cost dragged out over years).  I had a specific case in mind, someone I was talking to where on the initial evidence the bank would have known there was a problem with the loan.  Then a few days later evidence suggested that the bank made the decision based on information the customer had supplied and did have all its legal bases covered (if not the moral and ethical ones).  Last week in a conversation about how to deal with the impending doom, this little gem was casually dropped into the conversation (because like most bank customers, who thinks about this being against the law?)

Well, when the bank manager put together our cash flow it showed that we would have $4000 per month after expenses.  We thought we could easily live on that!

This is a critical point, it goes towards issues of duty of care and negligent misrepresentation.  When the bank manager put together the cash flow for the customer, did he assume the position of business adviser to the customer?  This question was posed in Blacker v National Australia Bank Ltd [2000] FCA 681 – this is an excellent read for anyone who wonders what a financial institution’s legal obligations are, and while customers must share some of the responsibility for the financial position they are in, to continue to make the assertion that “you signed the documents so you are solely responsible” is misleading.

I’m about to start work on my database so that I get a handle on all of this stuff, I have so much information which isn’t in an easily accessible place.  Hopefully getting it all sorted will mean I don’t miss the bleeding obvious next time around ….

Meanwhile, take care out there in banksterland Winking smile

[edit: all the to-ing and fro-ing still leaves the question whether the customer could afford the loan; according to the accountant there was no way, leaving the question - how did the bank manager manipulate the information provided to make it look like the customer would have a surplus of four thousand dollars after paying all expenses?  It's a curly one and I would love to see the internal bank documents to see how the sleight of hand was done.  And it's sad that now I'm once again thinking there probably isn't a single valid loan in Australia - but that's just me being totally cynical - I'll get over it]

Caveat Emptor

If you listened to the song above, I wonder if you ever have those moments when you’re flung back in time, to a time when you thought you had it all together and were finally getting ahead, only to have it all be torn apart by someone else?  Sometimes the darkness comes without being called, and there seems to be no answer to any of the what ifs and if onlys … there is only it is what it is – and it’s not fair (that’s my humble opinion for what it’s worth).

Now while the song is a love song, this post isn’t actually about love, love lost, unrequited love or any of the other human dramas being played out world-wide on a daily basis.  The post is about regret – decisions made when you didn’t know everything you needed to know – when someone who should have told you the truth decided to withhold the single most important information you needed to make a life-changing decision.

I’ve been having one of those weeks, where the past has made a deep indent on the right now and I’ve resorted to second guessing myself and what I’ve set out to do with this legal conundrum so many of us face.

Last night’s Four Corners program sort of almost helped, because it gives me hope that banks are no longer viewed as responsible corporate citizens who would never screw over customers.  But the plight of SMEs in their battle for justice is still largely ignored by the media and the regulators.  The law apparently believes that when a small to medium business enters a contract with a bank that this is a fair and equitable relationship and that both sides act in good faith.  But I have seen far too much evidence that this is the scariest fairy tale you’ll ever hear.

The assumption is that all business owners know as much about banking and financial institutions law as the banks.  Of-course that’s rubbish because business owners generally know a lot about their own business and pretty much sweet FA about banking law.  They also tend to have that rather old-fashioned idea that your bank wouldn’t set out to pull you down.  They believe that white collar crime does not affect banks – there are no criminals working within banks, working hard to make money for themselves out of the unsuspecting bank customer.  It’s a nice little pipe dream that sets up far too many people (again, in my humble opinion).

When I talk about our case, it’s easy for people to think this was a straight mortgage, but we were firmly in the SME category.  … and there was so much I didn’t know it’s terrifying.   We didn’t do anything wrong, we didn’t lie and, significantly, we didn’t know an important point about what happened to “our” loan application – I also feel at this stage that the bank didn’t know it either (bugger, but while we’re being honest, let’s be honest about that itsy, bitsy little factoid – I’m pretty sure that until the whole thing blew up, the bank didn’t really know what had happened either, that doesn’t excuse any of what happened to us as a result of that oversight, but well, it is what it is, it’s all there in black and white and it still sucks mega big, and I could be wrong in my assumption, since the bank never told me what they did and did not know … ).

I’ve also been talking to a lot of people who are starting to go through the same pain we went through, and while I can’t give legal advice (sadly, I still know sweet FA on all the ins and outs of banking and financial institutions law, hence the law degree) I can link people to information and I can certainly listen to them and hear their stories.

And sometimes I get upset when all the facts come out and it turns out that while a case could be made against bank managers who feed the enthusiasm and work hard at making pie in the sky dreams ‘affordable’ [at least on paper, if you look at the figures while squinting your eyes and holding the paper a reasonable distance away from your face] – well, there definitely isn’t a law against that, and while a decent guy or gal might say “I’d advise against this though because the risk is probably too high” … banks are not legally obliged to hire only decent guys and gals.

Maybe the problem lies with performance bonuses and lending targets the banks set, but as long as their employees don’t cross the line, the bank isn’t legally liable for your misfortune.  Sometimes, the sales skills the managers learn are too slick and contracts that fall into the loans that realistically fall into the “financing the pie in the sky” category are legally enforceable.  And I get really depressed that I’ve had to write that crap – the banks really are dirty and play by shonky rules … but not all loans fall into the fraud category.

What bugs me most of all though, what galls me, is that I, someone who was totally screwed over not only by the bank but the system that was supposed to protect us from fraud, can see the distinction and can admit that not every loan that gets distressed is fraudulent.  If I can see that, if I can understand it and accept it, then why the hell can’t the regulators and the Government see, accept and act on all those fraudulent loans where the banks are destroying people’s lives when they know full well that their employees had engaged in fraud?

Not every banker is a bankster, not every judge a tool in the employ of banks, not every lawyer is crooked, not every regulator blind – but judging by the sheer volume of fraudulent loans where real people have lost their homes and livelihoods – it is quite apparent that the good guys are far outnumbered by those who benefit from the various frauds perpetrated by banks on customers.  Isn’t it about time they decided to do something about it?  Will the Government finally act to close the legal loopholes the banks use to get away with theft?

If I’d known all that I know now way back in 2008, I wonder if I would have made different decisions?  I have a lot of regrets, but at least I was always honest, but sitting here right now, knowing all that I have lost along the way [never underestimate how much you lose when you lose yourself I guess], there are times when I wish I had just stuck to my Plan B and cut and run … at least I wouldn’t know how corrupt the system is and who knows, I might have even found some real happiness along the way.  But it is what it is …

Fighting a bank in court is hard – even before you get to court.  The financial strain, the emotional strain, the stress, the uncertainty, knowing that others with solid cases against the banks lost on technicalities – all these things come into play.  The hardest part of being me though, is that I can’t advise anyone to keep fighting their bank, sometimes the cost is far too high in emotional terms.  By the same token I can never tell someone to walk away from a legal fight when they know there was fraud involved.  The best I can do is listen and support others whatever they decide to do – I just always wonder if that’s enough.

Anyway – take care out there in banksterland Winking smile

[in case the video doesn’t play, it’s The Congretation’s Softly Whispering I love You]

Quick shout out to Paul and Simon

In the last couple of weeks I have been contacted by a couple of people who asked me questions, while I could respond to Simon, Paul had left the wrong email address and it came barrelling back … so Paul, if you read this, can you resend a message so I can answer your question?  Simon, maybe my response went into your scam/junk folder? (oh, that sounds terrible, no words of mine could surely be described as junk? bahaha Smile with tongue out)

Anyway, that’s all I really wanted to say, but maybe I could recommend some light reading for those struggling with some issues at the moment.  Consider reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle – one of the things he discusses is that we often live with a permanent fight or flight response when we react to stress and he gives some advice on how to ‘live in the now’ so that when there is nothing you can do about a situation you should be able to lessen the stress (word to the wise though … I’d read the book quite a bit before the poop hit the fan and must confess that I did not heed this advice often – when I did I was very productive, but they do wear you down Sad smile)

Oh well, there’s all this space, might as well use it to entertain you … these are just for fun mind Winking smile

(if it’s been deleted … Solitary Man – Johnny Cash Smile )

(if deleted it’s Tired of Toein’ the Line – Rocky Burnette)

oh, and here’s one I never saw the video of before (unless I was scarred for life and wiped all memory from my brain haha oh, hell’s bells that sounds about right … le sigh)

(I love Rock n Roll – Joan Jett and the Blackhearts Smile )

Anyhow, take care out there in banksterland Winking smile

ASIC rumbles more ‘credit representatives’ …

… and still doesn’t touch bank managers who do the  same thing

Well, there it is – another day, another story about ASIC putting those nasty credit brokers in jail … oh, hang on – nope, not jail – just banned (because as we all know, their white collar crime leaves no victims) – and while all these brokers appear to be copping it left, right and center – why don’t we hear about the bank managers who do exactly the same thing?  I would hazard a guess that the reason the bank managers escape punishment is because the banks are only too keen to cover up their crimes.  And trust me – this particular crime leaves very damaged victims. 

I’m tired of the stock standard excuse forwarded by everybody defending the banks … you know the “well, you shouldn’t have applied for the loan” or “well, you accepted the loan”.  Let’s look at that – what these people are saying is that no one should ever approach a bank for a loan – because well, you never know if you can trust the banks so why would you put your life’s work into their grotty hands?  We thought we could afford the loan, and the bank accepting our loan application and approving it meant we could afford the loan (why would the bank lend us money we couldn’t afford to pay back?)  We never lied on our application form, we never lied to the bank manager (or acting bank manager as I came to learn much, much later).

The cases are very simple – banks cannot lend money to people they know cannot afford to repay the loan (accepting property as the sole means of repayment is called predatory lending … and it’s illegal in most places).  The legal term (there’s a few to cover the vast variety of scams banks indulge in but this is the most common one) maladministration of loan – that means there was something very dodgy in how the loan approval was made.  I could bore you all once again with our sorry tale but won’t bother – our story is reflected in thousands of other cases around Australia (and the rest of the world) – false documents created to make it appear the customer can afford the loan (ours wasn’t quite so well done but the bank still got the big win of my home and life … and no, settlement didn’t repair any of the damage, settlement pretty much just stopped the court case).

A contract based on a lie is voidable – and that is the crux of the matter – these fraudulent loans should be made null and void … and the banks know it and they also know they cannot afford to have every one of their voidable loans cancelled – they’d all be (to put it politely) fucked.  So they fight, and they fight dirty and the dirtiest lie of all is “it’s all your fault because you accepted the loan”.

Ponder on that … and all those people who think banks do no wrong – ask yourself how responsible bankers sleep at night throwing families out on the streets?  (I’m guessing with their bonuses safely in their own accounts they sleep like royalty – I’d like to see them royally screwed but well, I’m just one teensy weensy voice aren’t I?)  Oh and for all those that believe the banks only indulged in those crazy loans in the heady days leading up to the GFC in 2008 and that they’ve been squeaky clean ever since – gee, I’ve got bad news for you – there are people now being issued Default Notices on loans taken out after that time.  And yes, these loans too are dodgy, with false incomes and more – and it wasn’t the customer who lied, but our trusty bank managers (who probably had a firm eye on those performance bonuses they’re so fond of)

For all the investors out there … contact the Responsible Investment Association over this and other stories.

Banksters – destroying the world one customer at a time …

Anyway – take care out there in banksterland Winking smile

just a couple of thoughts

It’s funny how sometimes you just can’t sleep and you’re not quite sure why … I’m sure it’s something in the air but here I am, still not asleep.  I worry about not being able to do enough for people who face the same financial disaster we went through – and I keep thinking I need to get onto writing a bit of a checklist of things to do in the event your bank sends you Default Notices.  There was so much happening in our lives around that time, and it all seems so long ago, that I don’t quite remember the order of things.

I do remember that I couldn’t find any help … literally.  Even finding a lawyer to talk to happened a long time after the first Default Notices were sent.  I remember trying to to find help online and eventually trying FOS – but all under the assumption that they couldn’t help because the first thing you’re told is that there is a limit to the size of the financial matters they deal with – so anything over $280k forget it … and knowing that changed how I approached things.  At that stage I also naively thought the bank would want to work with us to resolve the problem so that there would be a win/win outcome (funny how the abusive emails I get all assume I wanted to rip the bank off, that I had set out to engineer this situation).  I also did not know that while FOS investigates your case, the bank cannot do anything – including sell your home out from under you.

So the first thing you should do is try to work things out with the bank – remembering to document every phone call, every meeting.  Unless you have a fair and reasonable attempt at reaching a resolution with your bank, FOS won’t take your case on.  Once you’ve exhausted this avenue, file a complaint with FOS and ASIC.

Now I’m going on the assumption that by this stage you know that there was something dodgy about your loan or the way the bank has handled your matter.  For example, if you applied for hardship relief from your bank and they did not give you a reasonable amount of time to get back on your feet.  I know of one woman who lost her home despite having caught up on repayments after going through a tough time and she was ahead of her mortgage payments when the bank got possession of her house.  Yes, you read that right – doesn’t sound compassionate nor legal to me but there you go.  Shit happens and banks act like bloody criminals … the world is not a sane and orderly place.

So yes, I probably should do a separate page so that there is an easy to follow ‘play book’ – since the banks have perfected the art of litigating customers it’s only fair that customers learn how to approach a battle for their rights.

One of my pet hates is the sleight of hand that happens whenever people talk about suing the banks for maladministration of loans.  One of the favourite refrains of all and sundry is “but you took the loan” or “you wanted the loan” … as though the fact that the bank employee altered financials was irrelevant.  This is grossly unfair – there is a law against it – a contract based on a lie is voidable, altering a customer’s financials to make sure they qualify for a loan is more than a mere lie – it is fraud and that, ladies and gentlemen, is a crime.  So the biggest lie the banks tell is that your matter is a civil matter and that you, the customer, are responsible.  And all of their supporters go along with it and blame the customer – ”well, you took the loan” – fraud and criminal are two words that never get bandied about.  They should.

I guess what I’m saying is that if you suspect that your loan was unaffordable from the beginning, and banks are supposed to be “diligent and prudent lenders” then there is probably a good reason to look into the original loan application.  So contact your bank for the original Loan Application Form (LAF) and see how the loan got over the line.  And remember that there is a reason the law exists – it’s to protect customers from unscrupulous bank practices – and banks make a whole wad of money from bankrupting customers … it is a huge amount – otherwise I think they might be a bit more determined to sack staff members who fabricate lies on LAFs – as opposed to promoting them …. just sayin’ Winking smile.

Maybe you should think about reporting the matter to the fraud squad in your state?  If there’s enough complaints against the banks, at least there should be a database somewhere to keep an eye on the numbers eh?  You’d think there would already be such a database, but apparently, since this ‘doesn’t happen’ (yeah, right, gotta love that happy bubble) there is no need.

Oh well, that’s all I got tonight … I’ve now run out of steam Sleeping half-moon

While I try to get some shuteye remember … take care out there in banksterland Winking smile