… where to now?
I forgot to put up these great links to interviews about the massive fraud perpetrated by Australian banks – sorry ‘bout that (I can only blame being busy on studies). This thing is gaining ground and you have to wonder just how long the banks can keep indulging in their passion for weasel words to keep getting away with committing crimes (it’s not just one type of crime – there’s quite a variety – well, they do say variety is the spice of life )
Anyway – here’s the links
There’s a lot happening out there and I talk to a lot of people who are concerned about the judges hearing bank cases especially the judges who used to represent the banks as lawyers. Now there’s a bit of a conflict of interest that should mean judges recuse themselves from some hearings altogether – perhaps that is too radically common sense for contemplation?
Anyway, this week at uni we’re covering judges and how they make decisions in one unit, in another we looked at suing lawyers for incompetence (okay, so technically we looked at negligence but well, in my experience incompetence is pretty much the same as negligence and I used to prefer thinking some lawyers are just stupid rather than corrupt – oh dear, still trying to give people the benefit of the doubt … le sigh ). This got me thinking that I should maybe do a post about a client who found out some disturbing things about the barrister and lawyer who represented them in court … but that will have to wait until tomorrow (or my earliest opportunity since there’s assignments to be worked on … just as well I love steep learning curves eh? )
So while I think about how to write up my observation about legal professionals I’ll leave you with this video from the US – after watching I did a bit of reading about the judge and well, he doesn’t have a very good wrap online does he? Food for thought though.
While I get back to studying my lil tushy off – do yourselves a favour – take care out there in banksterland
This week I was going to do a post about implied terms in contract law (or as I’ve come to think of it – the law of contract obligations) – especially since bank customers still seem to believe that banks would never grant unconscionable/dodgy loans and if they did inadvertently do so, then they’d do the right thing and fix the problem. You know, act in good faith. Whereas all bank actions mentioned in the Senate Report into ASIC reek of bad faith; no let me rephrase that – let’s go with ‘are criminal’ for that last one.
But this morning I got side-tracked while I was replenishing my coffee supplies (can’t run out of study juice now can we? ). I thought I’d head to the shops before the rush, so found myself in an almost empty shopping centre just before 8. There was an older gentleman a little ahead of me and we happened to start talking – about banks of all things (you’re not really surprised though eh? ) and it turns out that this random stranger had been stung by the bank just over 20 years ago – and all of his info also firmly fitted the dodgy bankster antics category.
So now I’m thinking – how is it that I run into so many people who have been financially ruined by banks when they had the evidence to prove the banks had been in the wrong? I run into these people in shopping centres, doctors’ surgeries, at the train station, randomly in cafes – anywhere where people casually talk – there they are – people like me, taken for a ride by a bank and the law didn’t give a toss.
Right from the beginning of this I was told that what happened to us was a ‘one off’ – that this can’t happen, it was an anomaly. Yet I have met too many people who have the same story to tell – and the time span is from the early days of bank deregulation through to right now.
Somehow I don’t think the word ‘coincidence’ does this justice – perhaps the reason I meet so many people randomly (no surprise about talking to people who specifically contact me through the blog – but strangers met in the street?) has less to do with some quirk of the universe, and much more to do with the fact that this is a problem that is far more widespread than anyone imagines.
My son has a rare disease, and while I often meet people (randomly) who also have children/partners with a relatively rare disease, the same disease doesn’t generally come up.
The reason I mention it is because for me to meet so many people with the same bank stories might be an indication that this is not rare, an anomaly – this really is a systemic issue that the courts and the legislature have ignored for far too long.
If politicians can point out one good reason (and by golly it wants to be brilliant … just sayin’ ) why they shouldn’t step in and tweak the existing laws so that banks cannot profit from the crimes they commit (and that bank customers shouldn’t pay 100% of the price for the banks’ crimes) then I’ll drop it – but they can’t. The politicians and courts know that there is something terribly wrong here – that justice is denied, that innocent people are being ripped off by unscrupulous banksters. The banksters and their lobbyists keep using weasel words to give those with the power to change it a good excuse to avoid having to do anything about it – they keep saying it doesn’t happen (a lot) – there isn’t a systemic issue.
Maybe they (those with the power to help us schmucks) have their heads so far up their behinds that they have lost the capacity to speak to ordinary people – and they haven’t quite figured out that the carnage left behind by crooked banksters is going to be noted in the annals of history as the most dismal failure to reign in crime.
Maybe they didn’t get Al Capone on the crimes he’s famous for – but get him they did. How about doing something about the banksters? Surely even that itty bitty GST problem can get them prosecuted?
Oh well, my rants are unproductive – no-one gives a crap – so back to the books so I can write convincing arguments that defy the weasel word brigade and forces them to do the job they are meant to do – close the loop hole that allows the slimy banksters to keep right on stealing from Joe Public with impunity (they’re only doing it because they know no-one is going to stop them – so show them you will stop them … throw ‘em in jail every.single.one.of.them)
While I keep on trying to understand this enough to help change things … do yourself a favour – take care out there in banksterland
I have had cause to ask myself that very question over the last couple of weeks, following receipt of an email from Landgate that set my alarm bells ringing good and proper.
I suppose I should start at the beginning so you can follow the story properly – when we were in Paris in March we had our passports & train tickets stolen. Technically it wasn’t an issue – we had replacement passports within a couple of days (okay, so we do have to go back to Paris so we can actually see and do stuff other than trudging to and from the Embassy but hey, that’s another story LOL). Even financially it wasn’t a big deal – with travellers insurance we had our costs refunded, so really, it wasn’t a biggie.
That is until I got home and then my paranoia was well and truly set off when a local removalist sent me a “I hear you’re moving” letter/advertisement. Remembering the stories of people who had their properties sold out from under them because someone else ‘acquired’ their identity, and still feeling a tad vulnerable after being pickpocketed in Paris, I did the only thing I could – I registered our property title with Landgate. So now if ever there is any activity with the title – I get an email telling me so.
Which brings me to the email from Landgate a couple of weeks ago that set my alarm bells ringing – to be honest, I hadn’t expected to hear from them again except to renew the service. But there it was, a listing of recent activity on our title.
So I phoned them, but the paperwork was still en route so I had to phone back the next morning. The next morning I was told that the mortgage had been transferred, the woman had assumed that we had just re-mortgaged and she was perplexed when I said that we hadn’t. But it was all kosher, not a problem.
Late last week I got another email from Landmark – telling me the activity had been finalised – so this time I phoned the finance mob …
From the reaction, I’m thinking this wasn’t quite the ‘ordinary’ daily happenings, the manager who spoke to me seemed very confused that I was aware the mortgage had been moved. And while I guess I have to accept that it was most likely an internal move – erm, you do know I’m thinking ‘onselling’ ‘securitisation’ and other dodgy things financial institutions do … right? It wasn’t what was said, it was how it was said …. there are times when paranoia is a really, really bad thing hahaha .
Anyway – just thought I’d share the weird and ponder if it’s fishy or not … what say you? While I get back to studying do yourselves a favour … take care out there in banksterland
oh, I’m also working on another submission, that should be fun haha
I have to confess that despite feeling a bit overwhelmed at times about the reading I have to do (erm, I sometimes forget that in a couple of units the reading list is for the first three weeks and not just that week haha) – I am really enjoying this study lark . Although I am still struggling to get into a really good routine that fits in all the lectures, tutorials and extra researching I need to do, I think with just a bit of tweaking I’ll be okay. To be honest, I now feel really slack – I have no idea how people do this with babies/toddlers in their lives, and at least one fellow student works full time and is studying full time. Call me lazy by all means but I’m thinking of getting holiday jobs only because I’d prefer not to drive myself crazy with stress and lack of sleep … just sayin’ .
One of the things I am really enjoying is the challenge of figuring out the best way to handle the assessment questions – as with all things law, the way you tackle the problem is very much decided by the point of view you take. Then again, the best lawyers consider both sides of the argument and then formulate the best case from there (and if I’m going to study the law I may as well follow the habits of the best rather than the mundane, less than average slackers who just scrape by bahahaha).
I always assumed that my experience with the legal system and the corruption that seems to flourish in regard to banking law would really hamper my learning – that I would be so cynical and anti-establishment that I would only absorb facts and points of law that support my very tainted point of view. I’m happy to report that, although I will be drawing on my experience with the bank in all my studies, I am quite capable of distinguishing between the failures of my original defence team (and subsequent talented response of Team B which should probably be called the A Team now because they were really up against it) and the common law that exists to mete out justice without prejudice.
There is only one unit where we have not been given details of assessment questions but I must say, while all the assignments seem daunting today, I am a tad excited about working on them. I’m not sure which one intrigues me most. At this stage I think the contracts assessment holds the most promise as far as the blog is concerned … I’m pretty sure the 3500 word report into an aspect of contract law that could do with an overhaul will fit in quite nicely with the problem mortgagees face when a bank comes after them. I guess now I have to find the quote from the politician who said that the contracts were enforceable because all that came before they were signed is irrelevant. Not sure how he came to think that a lie told by an employee in the loan application form which lead to the existence of the loan, when a prudent and diligent banker would not approve said loan, was not relevant. I have no idea why he would think that forged signatures were not a cause for the banksters to go to jail rather than reap the benefit of the fraud. Then again, he is a politician who no doubt hears this bunkum from the bankster lobby all the time and totally, utterly believes it.
Then again, a few years back customers did have a rare win against the banks … it’ll be good to find the cases and investigate from there. Which part of contract law was applied – I know of a couple of cases where the bank manager changed the details to get the loans across the line and the banks lost their right to destroy the customer (although they still had a bloody good go). So I wonder what’s up with that … as I say, it will be interesting to see if I can pull it all together and make a good argument to tweak the law so that misleading and deceptive conduct in the formation of the contract gets more prominence (I think that’s what I’m trying to say … ).
Anyway, it’s time to hit the books again … while I give ye olde brain a rigorous workout, do yourselves a favour – take care out there in banksterland
Today I started my graduate law degree …
This is me this morning, at 7am – all good to go, about to start studying …
look at that smile, I’m just excited … right? You can see that – I am positively giddy I’m so excited to start . 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
Oh well, looks like I’m in for a heck of a learning curve but it’s all good, I’m sure if Jesus could walk on water I can learn to walk on shhhhhhhhhhh *
So for the next little while (hey, what’s three years among friends? ) 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).
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
* 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
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
*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
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 .
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
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
* 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 …
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
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? ) 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 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
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  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
[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]