A SINGLE mother with few assets and huge loans was trapped in "a dreadful debt spiral" after Macquarie Bank granted her a $2 million line of credit to invest in Storm Financial, a Brisbane Federal Court heard this morning.

Douglas Campbell SC, representing Storm class action litigants against the bank, launched their opening address before Justice John Reeves this morning.

The court was told that Brisbane mother-of-three Tracey Richards had just $24,0000 annual income, no real property and heavily encumbered assets when Macquarie approved the margin loan in 2006.

Ms Richards, 49, did not have the capacity to service the loan and was repeatedly forced to sell units in her Storm fund just to make payments and supplement her income as a receptionist, the court heard.

Additional draw-downs on the $2 million line of credit meant her debt "increased exponentially" but these transactions delivered thousands of dollars worth of fees to Storm.

ONCE-affluent Storm Financial clients have been left destitute by the collapse of their investments, a Brisbane Federal Court heard this morning.

Storm's index fund scheme was "built on the belief that prices would continue to rise" in the share market and Ms Richards had been advised that there was "no risk" when she first invested $500,000 following a divorce in 2001.

The class action seeks substantial damages from Macquarie for alleged breach of contract, unconscionable conduct and liabilities as a linked credit provider. The breaches allegedly violated parts of a consumer code of conduct.

Ms Richards was wiped out financially after the 2008 share market plunge.

The court was told that if Macquarie had refused to grant the loan, Ms Richards would have sold down her Storm portfolio and bought a home.

The class action will run in conjunction with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission's case against both Macquarie and Bank of Queensland which started this week.

ASIC wound up Storm in early 2009 after 3000 investors lost high-risk portfolios valued at $3 billion.