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BFCSA investigates fraud involving lenders, spruikers and financial planners worldwide.  Full Doc, Low Doc, No Doc loans, Lines of Credit and Buffer loans appear to be normal profit making financial products, however, these loans are set to implode within seven years.  For the past two decades, Ms Brailey, President of BFCSA (Inc), has been a tireless campaigner, championing the cause of older and low income people around the Globe who have fallen victim to banking and finance scams.  She has found that people of all ages are being targeted by Bankers offering faulty lending products. BFCSA warn that anyone who has signed up for one of these financial products, is in grave danger of losing their home.

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BFCSA: The Battle for the ROYAL COMMISSION into Banks and the Financial System is far from over for BFCSA Members.

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THE Battle for the ROYAL COMMISSION into Banks and the Finance sectors is far from over for BFCSA Members.

 

 In April this year I sent a letter to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten begging for a Royal Commission into the banking System (wide TOR)  based upon an estimated 1.5 million families severely affected by sub prime lending to the point the "asset-lends" to pensioners meant elderly people would be thrown out of their own homes.  

Over $300 billion of toxic loans are out there sloshing around in the Low Doc Market and economists from LF

Economics backed up these concerns in their submission # 63 to the  Senate Inquiry into white collar crime.  BFCSA also furnished submissions to the Dastyari Inquiry 2015. And, BFCSA Sub # 23 (Mch 2016) into White Collar Crime

being conducted by Senator Peter Whish-Wilson.

Earlier I had sent similar letters of warnings to PM Mr Abbott and later the new PM Mr Turnbull. They both said NO. 

Three weeks after I sent  the March BFCSA Letter to the Leader of the Opposition, he acted in favour of a Royal

Commission into banks and financial sector crime.

As with all things Bill Shorten, this was clearly a matter of deep-seated principle, a reflection of his inner-values.

Shorten explained why he was in favour of this Royal Commission:_-

"There have been a 'string of scandals' which has to stop. They are not isolated and one-off examples, but there are systemic problems in our banking and financial services industry. Members of Parliament from across the political divide have had enough of hard working

members of their communities being ripped off and losing their money. There are literally tens of thousands of

victims of banks and financial institutions. There are Retirees who have lost their retirement savings, small

businesses who have lost their livelihood, Australian families who have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, life

insurance beneficiaries denied justice and legitimate claims”.

In June 2014, a Senate inquiry into Commonwealth Bank malfeasance handed down its report. The Commonwealth Bank was involved in a fraud scandal that left thousands of customers “millions of dollars out of pocket”.

A subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank – Commonwealth Financial Planning (CFPL) – put client’s money into risky

investments in 2009, and the Bank was accused of covering it up.

 

The 2014 Senate Committee called for its 18th Inquiry and this time into the Australian corporate regulator.  

Chairperson of the Senate Inquiry into the Australian Securities and Investment Commission,  Mark Bishop – a then

West Australian-based ALP Senator – said at the time, “These actions were facilitated by a reckless, sales-based

culture and a negligent management, who ignored or disregarded non-compliance and unlawful activity as long as

profits were being made”.

The Bank’s “compliance regime failed, which not only allowed unscrupulous advisers to continue operating, but also

saw the promotion of one adviser, thus exposing unsuspecting clients to further losses.”  Losses to consumers

perpetrated by bankers has risen to over $300 billion.  Yet bankers continued to deny there was a problem.

I also gave evidence (including documentation) of wide spread abuse of bankers targeting ARIPS: any senior persons

who owned their own home and had no debt.  bankers were teaching their seller agents to sell Low Docs which

were a product only devised for small business people.  ASIC had been briefed by me at commissioner level on

these disgraceful activities by the Major Banks since 2001.  

I had lobbied for 19 Inquiries and said "enough is enough and a ROYAL COMMISSION into the Banking and Finance

Sector was well overdue.  banks had been running amok with toxic sub prime loans caused by de-regulation of the

banks.  There had been no major inquiry into the Major banks for over 30 years.

In 2012 as head of BFCSA, I had warned the Parliament of the AOFM commitment to purchase $24 billion worth of RMBS Bonds and that we believed the toxicity levels were far greater than previously help by bank economists.   I told the Senate: "The Government cannot, ought not to, profit from a  fraud."

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) is supposed to investigate crime in the corporate sector. Bishop said, “ASIC appears to miss or ignore clear and persistent early warning signs of corporate wrongdoing, or troubling trends that place the interest of consumers or investors at great risk”.

ASIC also didn’t pay enough attention to whistle-blowers, and the Senate Committee grew more concerned as they

learned more. Bishop noted:  “Recent developments whereby both ASIC and the CBA have corrected their testimony

about the compensation process for affected CFPL clients have intensified the committee’s misgivings about the

integrity and fairness of this process. Given the seriousness of the matter, the egregious nature of the conduct, the

potential number of clients affected and the lack of transparency during the compensation process, I believe that a

Royal Commission should be established.”

 

And so what was the political response in 2014? Coalition Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said he had some

“conversations” with the senior leadership of the Commonwealth Bank, and threatened to have some “further

conversations”.  Predictably, that veiled threat went nowhere.

By contrast, the Greens responded to the report on the day it was released, welcoming it and adding their party name to calls for a Royal Commission specifically into the Commonwealth Bank.

Once again, the idea died out from public attention.

In 2015, there was a fresh Senate inquiry into white collar crime, this time involving the six big financial institutions.

The Major Bank Bosses were invited to appear before the 2015 Senate to answer some questions. As in the 2012

Senate Inquiry into Banking Post GFC, bankers acting as a Cartel were unanimously emphatic,  there was no

problem as if we and others had made up the whole matter of older consumers being fraudulently and mercilessly

stripped of their assets.  

The ALP shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said he was “concerned by continued reports of alleged misconduct by financial advisers that see Australian investors lose out”. 

Further scandals emerged: A string of banking scandals and explosive revelations about wrongdoing inside

IOOF were reported

Media reported: “ an Australian financial services company. These included, within “the past couple of years”

various “scandals inside CBA’s financial planning division, NAB, Macquarie Private Wealth and now IOOF, which

manages more than $150 billion of customer money and has 650,000 clients.”

Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson observed that the Senate inquiry had called for a Royal Commission just on the

evidence surrounding misconduct at the Commonwealth Bank. Since then, he pointed out: "a number of additional

scandals have come to light, with the latest being IOOF. The government is happy to have political witch-hunts into

the pink batts scheme and union wrong-doings but won’t act to investigate the damage to tens of thousands of

victims of white-collar crime.”

Whish-Wilson concluded by expressing disappointment “the government did not support this call. The case is there

for a Royal Commission: the public interest test is strong”.

 

In April ASIC “launched action against Westpac Bank over alleged rigging of the bank bill swap rate, while it launched an action against the ANZ Banking Group for similar behaviour, while the Commonwealth Bank has been caught up in allegations of unethical behaviour by its insurance arm”.

After years of scandals, and a fresh round of actions directed at the banks, on April 6, former co-chairman of

Goldman Sachs in Australia, Malcolm Turnbull gave a speech at Westpac.

Though Turnbull included plenty of praise for the banks, he delivered a diabolical understatement: “there have been

too many troubling incidents over recent times for them simply to be dismissed. The truth is that despite the public

support offered at their time of need, our Bankers have not always treated their customers as they should”.

Turnbull almost immediately rushed to assure his audience that “wise bankers, like our host” understand the need

to behave better, and Brian Hartzer – the Westpac CEO and Managing Director – had “very keen insight into these

matters”.

 

Turnbull’s very mild criticism was included in a generally pro-bank speech, where he claimed that Westpac “has

helped millions of Australians build their dreams of independence”, that banks are businesses “unlike any other”, a

“fundamental pillar, a foundation, of our society, and our economy”, and much more.

Bill-Shorten-3

That this was considered a significant development is due to the tremendous power and influence in Australian

politics of the four big banks, and six other major companies, as recently observed by Senator Dastyari.

On April 7 – that is, the day after Turnbull’s speech made front page news, and presumably resonated with the

public generally – Shorten responded.

As the issue of banking and financial sector crime is well-established, as are the long-ignored Senate

recommendations noted above, Shorten was asked if the ALP would support a Royal Commission into the

banking sector.

Shorten replied: “Frankly, I’m a bit surprised that the Government has quickly ruled out having a Royal Commission.” He added:

“It’s time for Mr Turnbull to stop ruling out very quickly the option of the Royal Commission and instead start

listening to what every day Australians are saying, and they don’t like the bad behaviour of banks.”

“I looked very carefully at what Mr Turnbull said at Westpac’s birthday party. He said one thing which was important, he said ‘there are very serious issues about banks’ behaviour’. But the other thing he then did is nothing about it. I think Australians are sick of politicians who talk tough and do nothing. I think it’s frankly quite contradictory.”

Meanwhile the ALP was reading and taking note of my BFCSA 26th March letter.  I received phone calls.  I was elated as the ALP was at last taking this matter seriously and were ready to run.   They were indeed considering backing a Royal Commission. 

On April 8 the leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten and the ALP decided to support a Royal Commission into the

banks and finance sector.  More calls and emails ensured.  I immobilized the troops to start becoming the most

unlikely activists.  Their homes are under threat from the Big Bad Bankers and now we had a champion in Bill

Shorten.  Malcolm Turnbull looked stunned and continued to protect these bankers, despite the evidence of a

monstrous crime scene: the Sub Prime Theft of Homes via criminal asset-stripping.

 

After first having floated publicly the idea of backing a Royal Commission, the announcement's were made and the media asked questions as to what was the actual trigger for today’s announcement?  We believe it was hundreds of

letters from BFCSA Members and then the actual 9 page March letter from BFCSA.  Quite simply there were masses

of victims from every state in the nation re sub  prime lending.

Bill Shorten explained this is a much bigger issue that needs to be dealt with.  

Whilst we welcome a Royal Commission into the banks, the fact is, the banks have enormous wealth and power. Taking on the banks to try to implement a Royal Commission’s recommendations would be a huge political battle, requiring courage, principle, and possibly sacrifice.

 

Then in May 2016:

ASIC, particularly tame after a 12 per cent cut to its budget that year, wasn’t in favour of a Royal Commission.

The Bankers then conducted a midnight "pass-around-the-hat" and whipped up $127 million petty cash to donate

to poor ole ASIC to be able able to continue chundering along.

 

That enabled ASIC to take the banks to court over rate rigging which would cost them a mere $200k fine!!!  Once

again the Banks were manipulating the political scene and by July a narrow win for Turnbull in the election with Bill

Shorten increasing the ALP majority to 69 seats against the Coalition's 76 and the Senate is out of the Government's

hands.  Perhaps Turnbull will last another three years, but perhaps the The Australian property market crash will

come sooner than anyone is prepared for and we could be back to the polls much sooner.  

Yet predictably, the Royal Commission will have to wait for the next election as Malcolm (with his own $1 million

donation) and his banker mates breathe a sigh of relief.  The Bankers have won the first big battle but not the war.  

bankers may own Government and the regulators APRA and ASIC and they fund the Ombudsmen's biased services,

namely FOS, and the agents and financial planners as sellers of toxic products, BUT consumers will win a ROYAL

COMMISSION into the Major Banks. Senator Xenothon suggests he will not look into the Majors................of course!

Three Nationals have already announced they will cross the floor and a few newbee independents.  As more victims

of sub prime lending and other bank scandals gather together under one banner, the issue is a live one and will not

be diminishing.  The Bankers criminal activity still continues due to two words: "profit and greed."

 Its a David and Goliath battle.  We at BFCSA receive no government funds.  Our membership fees are modest.  Yet,

despite the odds, our valiant members are ready for the next round.  

The letters will flow once again as in "the power of the pen."  Prime Minister Turnbull will again receive 2000 letters

demanding a Royal Commission and he will have to continually respond with NO.  

One day the media will understand what we are quietly achieving behind the scenes.  Meanwhile we have big plans

via Social Media so stay tuned.  Better still JOIN US or DONATE....hit the membership button and then press donate.

 

 

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Guest Thursday, 12 December 2019