As I enter the final stage of my studies, and once again indulge in management-specific units, I am reminded, once again, that most companies supposedly reflect the people at the top – that the way companies are managed, the ethics and morals, the corporate culture, is a reflection of these guys (oh yeah, apparently most companies are still dominated by white males – go figure). One of the units also presents the concept of the sub-culture, where a division of a company follows the beat of a different drum to the rest. This too is found to be down to management – the immediate managers of the division can and do affect how things are done.
Which brings me around to the question of how would, say, a disparate group of managers of the same division across different companies in the same industry, corrupt the whole industry? From all of my research so far, it is obvious that despite the protests of the banks, there is at the very minimum an identifiable sub-culture within all the banks that encourages employees to engage in questionable (and illegal) activities aided and abetted by the internal legal departments.
How does a low-doc swindle operated by banks, for example, affect every single bank? Most victims were told they were targeted by a rogue agent within the bank and that, legally, the fight would be so long and drawn out that the cost wasn’t worth it. No regulator would touch it for the same reason – it was a one-off, nothing to see here, move it right along. The police aren’t interested – one rogue agent is obviously small fry and not worth their effort. Turns out there are victims of low-doc loan fraud from every single major bank, there is no bank that can claim a clean record.
So how exactly did this happen? Is there a secret bank manager convention every year where they dream up new ways of parting their customers with their hard-earned? Do they run the scam past the legals before they implement the policies that, if exposed, could bring about the demise of their bank? Did it all start with one bank and when that scam was exposed and the employees moved on – did they move into other banks and follow their great leader’s example and carry on his good work in his absence? How did any single manager know how to change financial details of customers in a way that would make it go past the checks and balances department? Isn’t there a section of all banks wholly devoted to doing the fact checking on loan applications? Isn’t there a way to check if Joe Blogs really did earn the amount declared on the loan application – say, by checking the ATO records? Isn’t there a legal requirement that ensures the banks and the ATO to watch for ‘untoward’ activity which may indicate money laundering or other crimes? Wouldn’t the ATO want to know why Joe Blogs, on $285k a year, hasn’t included all of his income in his last tax return?
Someone is not playing the game right – and judging by the number of retirees who have been swindled, businesses that have been destroyed by the stroke of a pen (and not the GFC) and we can figure out that it is not the Australian public who isn’t playing the game by the rules. And it is not just one rogue manager – it’s enough of a gang to affect every single bank! How the hell does that happen? And where the hell are the regulators? The police? The judiciary? …. all in denial because banksters wear suits and ‘look’ more respectable than the bikies currently being persecuted by the Queensland government.
I look forward to getting some answers … although I probably shouldn’t hold my breath waiting for the government to do anything about it – not when they can’t even see the conflict of interest in appointing a former bankster to head the inquiry into the banksters. Talk about putting the fox in charge of investigating who ate the chickens!
Anyway, gotta go – don’t forget to take care out there in banksterland
I subscribe to a few financial type newsletters and this morning I remain totally, utterly frustrated and perplexed as to what is happening in the courts. When I first heard about the Daniel Duy Anh Nguyen case (the broker who lied on loan application forms) and realised ASIC was taking him to court, I thought – beauty, about time! It was about time someone was charged with this serious white collar crime, with this fraud. Far too many people have had their lives totally and utterly destroyed by people like Daniel who ‘fudge’ the figures to make sure loans are approved. I mean there are issues of breach of trust, motive, planning, the total financial losses suffered by people because of this fraud. I would have thought that this guy would go to jail. He was convicted of fraud – he was guilty (and he did it after 2010 when apparently the new lending rules kicked in to protect consumers … wonder how many other dodgy loans post-2010 are heading for trouble now? but I am no cynic).
So what was the sentence handed down to this guy? Did he go to jail? Nope – no jail time for him.
He has received a four month suspended sentence and released on a recognizance that he be of good behaviour for 12 months. (story here)
They have to be kidding me, right? Just because they caught him before he created a financial crisis for his clients doesn’t make the crime any less … criminal. I’m sorry, but are they laying the groundwork for suspended sentence outcomes for everybody who has been guilty of the same crimes? I know a few cases where there is ample proof that it was the bank employee who changed the facts to fit the loan – without telling the customer. (is it possible that the Australian low-doc fraud is on a scale similar to that of the U.S.?)
I know customers have been known to lie on loan application forms – the cases I refer to are not those – the cases I refer to fit the definition of fraud by bank employees. I’m sorry but despite all of the bank CEOs claiming this stuff doesn’t happen and ASIC’s continued refrain that there are no systemic issues in banking – if it looks like a duck, waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck – you have to consider that maybe it bloody well IS a duck!
My life is worth more than a slap on the wrist for the perpetrator… and the sooner the powers that be address the real issues the sooner I and people like me can get on with the rest of our lives, knowing there is justice for all … not just a select few who can afford to buy their version of it.
People like to muddy the waters and make vacuous statements like “if you knew you couldn’t afford the loan why did you accept it” – problem for us was that we thought we could afford it, what sank us was all the things we didn’t know, the things we couldn’t know because we weren’t given all the information. There is a law against what happened to us … and the only reason I’m still going on about it and researching it all and trying to change the system despite the bank settling the case with us … is because despite the new regulations this fraud continues and there are more people like me out there who are about to be destroyed, not because they did anything wrong, but because the people they trusted to do their jobs broke the law. I wouldn’t wish what happened to us on my worst enemy …
Anyway, maybe one day justice will be done, until then, take care out there in banksterland
It is pretty sad when, after going through a process where not only did you lose your essential self, but when, finally fighting back and suing the corporation that destroyed your life you get a small financial settlement … and then nothing changes for the corporation at all. They fail to have their “aha” moment, they fail to take responsibility for their actions and worst of all – they fail to change. Across Australia, it is ‘business as usual’ for banks who continue to take customers who were deceived to court to ruin them. The fact that there are laws against the things the banks do seems to be lost on the regulators, governments, police and judiciary – or they really just don’t care. Fraud committed by banks doesn’t have the same punishment as that committed by Joe Blogs – Joe Blogs will always be made an example of – the banks? Heck, lets give them government guarantees so that when they mismanage their business empires the taxpayer will bail them out. Nothing to see here folks, move it right along .
The problem with banks is that they never really talk to customers who find themselves in financial problems that were created by the banks themselves – from the moment the office bod in charge of helping the customer out of a contrived situation, where the bank employee broke the law, it’s up with the drawbridge, fill the oil tubs, prepare the cannons and let’s get rid of the inconvenient grubs who don’t understand the law or how the hell we screwed them over. There is never an admission of guilt, never an offer of recompense, never a righting of wrongs – all there is is bullying, destruction and pain. As revelations over the last couple of weeks have shown, banks are not too proud to employ third parties to spy on dissenters, no expense is spared in the discovery and silencing of whistleblowers who might cause change to the status quo. The public corporate ethos is totally tied to an image that is paid for with a mix of advertising and financial support for worthy causes. In private, these banks are simply criminal gangs bullying victims of their crimes and scheming the next lot of customer take-downs. There’s money to be made out of bankrupting your customers.
The totally wrongly named offices of various customer advocates do anything but advocate for the customer – ask any customer about their experience – most will tell you they either didn’t get any time to talk about their problem at all or they were called liars. I’m not sure banks understand the definition and role of ‘advocacy’ – maybe they need some training and development – there’s a few customers who could educate them on what customers need – for a small fee (aggrieved customers realise that large fees are only paid to arse-kissers and the ingratiating yes men/women – hence the small fee for travel expenses and time). Instead of destroying customers banks should really talk to them and be honest about how they found themselves in difficulty in the first place. But that’ll never happen, not when you (the banks) can bankrupt a customer and so ensure that nuisance doesn’t have the time to get back to court and sue the arse off you.
I was told the tale of a bank customer who had been bankrupted by his bank, a few weeks later someone from a different corporation called to collect the debt on the credit card. Apparently it was an interesting conversation as this bankrupt explained to the person that he was not liable for the debt as the bank had bankrupted him. Response from other corporate sucker? “They can’t have, we bought the debt off them”. So, turns out banks sell debt they know cannot be recovered to make more money they are not entitled to …. these bank stories keep getting better and better eh? (there’s that word fraud jumping up and down in my head again, oh dear ). I can hear the excuses now as the bank rocks up to court on this one … “we don’t have the records” “have no idea how that could possibly have happened” “it wasn’t our fault, the other corporation asked to buy the debt and we had no option but to sell it to them – the customer is always right as you well know your Honour” (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more).
The total disregard of the law by the banking elite is startling – I guess when you have the means to control everything and everybody to maintain the illusion of being a responsible corporate citizen you don’t have to follow the principles of the law or the niceties of society. You can sponsor various anti-bullying campaigns despite making your devastated customers cry every day for 3+ years, you can tell the world that you’re against bullying children while bullying the adults who trusted your corporate brand, who believed the lies in your advertising that you’re the good guy. You can support anti- bullying campaigns and talk about suicide prevention while your managers and lawyers bully your customers to the point of suicide as they see no way out of the legal quagmire you created. Banks … you really are all the same … its’ a pity there isn’t an alternative yet. It’s also a pity there isn’t a single CEO who really wants to change the way his/her bank does business. But within the corrupt corporate culture of these vultures – CEOs who might want to turn banks into decent, law abiding and responsible corporate citizens wouldn’t last 5 minutes in the top job. Well played banks, well played.
For all the rest of us schmucks – stay safe out there in banksterland
On Saturday I was sent a link to a story in the Sydney Morning Herald … and I’ve been wondering about what it really means ever since. The story (here and here) is about the Commonwealth Bank spying on a Federal Senator amongst other folks in relation to their itty bitty problem when they took out a whole load of Bankwest customers following their take-over of same (first story here, you’ll have to track the rest yourself … sorry about that ).
In the story, Commonwealth Bank’s response is along the lines of “we’re only trying to find out who the whistleblowers are” – and therein lies my problem. Why try to find out who the whistleblowers are? From what I understand about banking protocol, the whole idea is to deny there is a problem despite mounting evidence to the contrary, pay off everybody you can and destroy the rest by any means possible. I can’t see them paying off the whistleblowers … so how will they destroy these people who have enough integrity to help those who have been taken down by their bank? I have no doubt that is what the bank intends to do – it’s been done before (DeMaria, 1999; McLean & Renton, 1992) and until that nest of vipers is wiped out it will continue to happen.
And it’s not like there’s anyone seriously looking into changing the status quo.
I’m concerned about the whistleblowers who have come forward – as far as I can tell, banks in Australia operate more like the mob than a mere business – now you can accuse me of having watched too many episodes of The Sopranos but there are only so many conversations you can have with people that start with “you can call me crazy but I’m being followed, my phone’s tapped, my computer has been compromised …” before you stop thinking the world’s gone mad and you realise it’s just that the banks really are that bad.
Hopefully the whistleblowers have given enough information so that the banks can’t keep getting away with this … hopefully we really have reached tipping point. But I do have a pretty magnificent happy bubble.
While we wait to see what comes of it … stay safe out there in banksterland
** to date, there are 186 submissions up on the ASIC Inquiry – mine has not yet been ‘approved’ – no idea why it can’t just be accepted since I went to the effort of writing it – but I guess they can’t try to affect the outcome if they let the good Senators see all the information about how ASIC has been derelict in its duties, probably since its very inception.
I know I’ve been absent of late … I’ve had this mutated flu thingy that doesn’t respond to antibiotics and time just isn’t doing its thing either … so I’ve had to grin and bear it – not that there’s been much grinning. I think even the cat is getting tired of my whingeing … le sigh
Anyway – I have been prioritising my studies because I’m looking forward to finishing this degree, having a bit of a holiday and then getting stuck into the long-term work I have to do in explaining how this fraud went down – it’s a big project and somewhere in there I’ll have to find a job to boot … oh dear, I’m tired just thinking about it
So I’ve been following the inquiry into ASIC and I must say, I would have thought that by now my own submission would have been made public, or at least accepted. So far I have heard nothing about it – not sure what they’re doing – no point asking ASIC as to why they did what they did in our case when they were perfectly happy to pursue a mortgage broker for the same offences – they’ll just “blah, blah, blah not our problem” it like every other time (which is the whole point of my complaint). I must confess I’m surprised that so many companies who have been complained about are given the opportunity to comment on these submissions – seems a bit like an intimidation tactic to me.
It’s not like it isn’t stressful enough having to write the whole sorry tale down again – only to be told again by the turds that broke the law that they didn’t do anything wrong and acted in good faith (I’m sure they had every faith they’d never get found out). It just seems like a stand-over tactic … whoever is passing the submissions on for a response really shouldn’t … the complaints were about ASIC’s inaction/ineptitude/corruption – so what’s the point of contacting the original corrupt organisation that ASIC failed to investigate? Makes no sense to me whatsoever.
What I do find more disturbing though is this – there has been a major ‘glitch’ with uploading submissions on the website – something that took about a month to sort out. No idea what computer geek would take that long to fix the problem … none I’ve asked about it thought it should take that long to fix … unless the powers that be don’t want the problem fixed of-course.
Knowing that this problem existed I emailed my submission – and didn’t get an acknowledgement of receipt (this is unusual – I’ve submitted documents before and you always get acknowledgement that it has been received). It also isn’t up on the site yet – not publicly available or confidential – just not there yet. I re-sent it and did receive acknowledgement the second time around.
Again, this is unusual, it doesn’t take that long – but then again, this is an inquiry no-one really wants to hold … and if you look at the spread of issues presented in the 99 submissions accepted so far – it’s little wonder really.
But back to the submissions – they are taking a very, very long time to get uploaded onto the submissions page – and far too many are confidential. To me, being one very damaged individual, all this means is there’s a massive cover-up under way already. The last submission published today is dated August 11 – submissions close October 21. So far – there are 99 submissions – yet I know of many people who did submit already – and their complaints are yet to be accepted. What’s the delay? Were they all sent to the original culprits for their fervent denial of wrongdoing? Does the genius in charge of these submissions really think a single corporation will respond with “oh yes, we f*cked that customer over good and proper”? Come on – surely every single response will be “we did everything right and the customer got it wrong” – so why bother wasting time?
Surprisingly, there are not many publicly available submissions about low-doc bank fraud – and this is a big concern to me – there are so many victims out there; I wonder if they simply hadn’t realised that they should be asking ASIC for help so now they can’t complain about ASIC not helping them? I would advise these people to put that in writing and submit it to the Senate inquiry – what good is a regulator when people don’t know that they are supposed to regulate the banks? Maybe it’s just the headache pills talking tonight, but well, we the public pay a lot of money to keep that turd of a regulator working … seems a pity they don’t actually work right?
I’ll keep an eye on the submissions, hopefully the rest of them will make it up there soon – and hopefully not too many of them will be marked confidential – I’m not a fan of deals done in secret at the best of times – a public inquiry should make the facts available to us I think.
Anyhoooo – take care out there in banksterland
I finished my ASIC submission a couple of weeks ago – but I didn’t post it – I kept thinking there’s something I’m missing.
This morning, the final piece of the puzzle landed in my inbox …
A South Australian mortgage broker appeared in the Adelaide Magistrates Court today charged with five counts of providing false or misleading information to secure home loans totalling more than $500,000.
ASIC alleges ….. (read rest of story here)
So, ASIC bounces on mortgage brokers doing this kind of shit but bank managers are allowed to do it? My, my, my what a warped sense of justice you have ASIC – maybe by including this story in the submission the good Senators will begin to wonder WTF is going on over there in ASIC land – where banks get to do whatever they like and customers are vilified and destroyed.
So, yes, finally have the submission done, not that it’ll do much good – we didn’t get a chance to vote for Blind Freddy and apparently he’s the only one capable of seeing the truth about bank malpractice.
Anyway, go the Dockers (currently suffering from performance anxiety) …
And take care out there in banksterland
Apologies for my prolonged absence, it isn’t that I don’t care anymore, or that I’ve given up, life is just a tad demanding and in trying to renegotiate what I’m trying to achieve with this blog – well, there has been a lot of research going on … just not a lot of sharing of conclusions .
On a bright note, I have been working on my ASIC inquiry submission . I won’t be rushing this one, when I did the submission for the banking inquiry I rushed it and was far too indiscreet – I should have known that if I give all of the facts and named all of the names that it would be made confidential to protect the guilty – and it was. It was also ignored, obviously ignored since nothing ever came of the banking inquiry. … and silly me thought it would actually change things, that justice would at last be done. Sheesh – sometimes I really am an idiot .
So this time I’m being careful – giving enough information to ensure the good Senators understand ASIC totally, absolutely failed in its duties, but leaving out the names of the guilty – why tempt them to make this submission confidential eh? The facts in and of themselves should speak to the issue being investigated – that ASIC does not and never has, regulated the banks to ensure they follow both the letter and the spirit of the law. So far, all I have seen is how spirited banks are in denying justice to their victims and bending the law past the point of breaking.
Yes boys and girls, the banks have been breaking the law and getting away with it and the regulator appears to be complicit in the dirty deed (along with a few lawyers and judges who appear to have no problem navigating through the moral and ethical quagmire to assure themselves they are indeed, only upholding the law – the fact that this grasp is tenuous at best and well, outright wrong actually, does not seem to matter).
So I’m trying to be very careful in how I word my submission – oh well, if the Parliament decides to knobble it – I’m not sure there’s anything to stop me publishing it on here so the public does get access to something I want them to see. I want the world to know what proof I gave to ASIC and the ‘go away, not our problem’ response this invoked from the ‘regulator’.
Judging by the large number of submissions that are confidential … I can feel another whitewash coming on. It’s rather disingenuous of our fearless leaders to talk about corruption in third world countries, or any other countries actually – since Australia is quite good at it in its own backyard, screwing over its own citizens, over and over again. It would be nice if this new Government were to actually clean up a bit and demand banks stick to doing things legally – but I fear no Government has the temerity to stand up to their handlers ….
The above meme is going around on Facebook at the moment – no idea who made it – but they are surely wise .
Anyway, time to get back to studying … almost done … woot
Meanwhile, take care out there in banksterland
… and don’t forget to get your submission in to the Senate inquiry if ASIC gave you the bum’s rush as well.
Am about to start working on my submission for the ASIC inquiry … I’ve had to wait until I finished this epic study period … just a couple of exams to go this week and it’s done and dusted … that’s a bit of a woot moment . I’m getting closer to finishing this degree, with my sights set firmly on the post-grad law degree and starting to publish academic insights into the various scams employed by banks to separate their valued customers from their assets. It’s a big job, but someone has to do it
Speaking of jobs, I will probably have to find myself a job as well as studying … since we didn’t get put back into the same financial position we were in before the bank intervened things are a tad grim – the current downturn in the mining industry isn’t helping stress levels either. I have thought of offering my services to a bank to help them sort out their HR mess … maybe I need to write the first academic article on the premise that the only way these scams work is with the full knowledge and tacit approval of the CEO – there’s enough academic debate on this as I discovered while putting together the last two assignments for management units I’ve done. I think I can find the time for that now . There was a strategic HR job going at one of the banks … but I think my reputation precedes me and they may not look favourably on my application …. .
Anyway, back to the title of the blog – for those who don’t know who or what Pandora is, and why it’s a biggie to me that they’ve archived the ihatethenab blog. Pandora is part of the National Library of Australia, this quote is straight from the Pandora website
PANDORA is a selective archive. The National Library and its partners do not attempt to collect all Australian online publications and web sites, but select those that they consider are of significance and to have long-term research value.
I think it’s pretty exciting that they think my blog is significant and has long-term research value. I know it’s been quoted a few times in various publications but it is gratifying that someone suggested my blog be archived and that it was considered important enough to do so (no, I didn’t suggest it myself haha). The archiving of the blog means that even if I stop contributing to it, the content will remain searchable forever. That’s pretty cool I think – a permanent record of a moment in time that will go down in the annals of history as the darkest days of corporate misconduct, legislative and judicial failure, and government corruption. History will prove that the collective we who have complained and tried to get official investigations into these various scams were genuine victims of greedy corporations who saw customers as cash cows and easy targets for predatory lending scams.
For anyone curious about the really interesting stuff … read posts pre March 2013 – there’s a lot of info there and it’s all true (it shouldn’t be, it should all be figments of my imagination – but I don’t have such a good imagination and have no reason to fabricate this complication to life).
Anyway, while I start the new units and get ready for exams – take care out there in banksterland peeps
So I’ve had a crap few days, not quite as crap as my son, but as his mother, trust me, it’s also been crap here. I got a text message at 1 am Saturday morning that he was being admitted to hospital, by 7 am he was getting transferred to Royal Perth. The worry was that it was the Wegener’s coming back … he said it wasn’t because he didn’t feel the same kind of blergh … but still, it meant lots of tests for him. Although we did get into hospital to see him, there wasn’t anything to do other than wait it out. To take my mind off things I had a go at finishing three assignments I have due next Monday – it worked okay, sort of …
So it’s been 4 days of worrying about what ifs (the Wegener’s almost killed him in 2009 around the time the bank was taking us through Summary Judgement – it’s the reason we handed total control to the then lawyer). And trying to concentrate on assignments that somehow don’t seem quite so important today. It’s tough trying to wrangle words about capitalism and corporations using the system to make more profit – and yes, this is actually one of the assignments … so much for getting a break from this bank guff – right?
Finally today I got two assignments finished, with the third sitting at 1265/1500 words … still a lot to do but a reasonable start. But I’m stressed out to the max and totally not in the mood for crap. Of-course, the cat has picked up the mood and has spent the last two days howling like a banshee – he does it every time I stress out (which, surprisingly, only adds to my stress – funny that eh?). Thinking I’d have a well deserved break (I’ve also been taking test exams in preparation for the real thing in two weeks time) I innocently checked the mail.
And then all hell broke loose as I spiralled back to the dark days …
There in the mail was a brand spanking new Platinum credit card for my husband … the one we’d cancelled … so why the heck did he get a new one? It’s a cancelled card FFS – and one I was pleased to ditch. I don’t want any correspondence from that bank ever again – and here it is – another card (yes, I have been authorised to open the husband’s mail in his absence … although the big yellow redirect sticker covered who the intended recipient was anyway – that’s Australia Post for you ).
So I kind of lost the plot … and phoned the bank. I was possibly too frank – oh dear, they might be a wee bit upset … but shit, why the hell would they send hubby a replacement credit card when he hadn’t applied for one? When he’d gone into the bank and cancelled it. It’s like they’re taunting me and poking this grumpy bear with a great big stick.
I’m not sure if I would have handled the situation better had I not had a crap week, I like to think my short temper isn’t quite so short anymore, but hells bells, I might be stuck in permanent bitch mode and that is totally wrong. This week was not a good week to be plunged back to 2009 – I lost far too much that year and almost lost one of the most precious people in my life. This week it looked like I might be losing him again …
So here I sit, wondering how long it will be before my extremely short fuse will gain some long-term functionality, wondering how long it will be before I can let the little aggravations in life go. Today it feels like I will never be normal again – and that is a terrifying thought. So much for getting better
On the bright side though … and it is very bright, this afternoon my son is out of hospital and it isn’t a relapse, he has an unrelated infection that played havoc with his body. So all’s well that ends well – too bad that card arrived today – tomorrow I probably would just have binned it and that would have been that.
Anyway – take care out there in banksterland