- Banking inquiry leaves Miles farmers feeling shortchanged
- By Mark Phelps
- Contributed by: Johnsie ( 3 articles in 2018 )
MILES farmers Joe and Gail Courte say they feel extremely frustrated that their submission to the Banking Royal Commission was almost completely passed over in Brisbane on Tuesday.
Despite being only one of four cases selected from some 268 submissions for questioning, the commission spent only eight minutes and asked bankers just two questions about the 3000 word document.
Mr Courte said they had spent “months and months and months” detailing their experiences with the ANZ bank and Landmark only to see the case dealt before the commission ran out of time.
“The case before us took six or seven hours and then after eight minutes on our submission they said they had run out of time,” Mr Courte said.
“It’s extremely frustrating. We were contacted by the commission’s legal counsel prior to the hearing, who had sought more detail including bank statements.
“What happened here in Queensland with ANZ and Landmark is blatant enough, criminal enough and widespread enough to warrant its own investigation, and not just be part of this broadranging royal commission.”
The Courte’s declined to discuss the specifics of their case with Queensland Country Life on the basis they were bound by a confidentiality agreement with their former bank.
However, the Courte’s ordeal is detailed in a submission to a federal parliamentary inquiry in 2015.
That document states the bank reduced the Courte’s 20 year loan to just six months and raised interest rates from 7.9 per cent to 8.9pc within a few months on the basis they had become a “high risk client”.
“The conduct of ANZ through this entire ordeal has been despicable,” the Courtes wrote in 2015.
“They forced a loan agreement on us that we did not seek or sign for. They then proceeded to use every tactic they could imagine to drive a once thriving enterprise into near bankruptcy and homelessness, merely to suit their own desire for an internal restructure.
“lf ANZ wish to redesign their lending profile to a more Asian focus, they are welcome to do so, but surely they should not be allowed to do so over the smashed bodies of Australian farming families.”
The Courtes are understood to be the only one of more than 30 cases in the Miles district that survived the ANZ’s banking policies.