Older Australians speak up on banking royal commission failure

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Recommendations from the banking royal commission report range from threats of criminal proceedings against culpable banks and individuals to wide-ranging reforms of banking culture and regulation of the sector, but what of the victims of these white-collar crimes?

The first step for victims is to make a claim, which requires legal representation. That’s all well and good for those who can afford representation. What happens to those people who can’t?

Their next most obvious recourse is to make a complaint to the Financial Services Ombudsman, but that office has limited jurisdiction and will most likely recommend that you seek help from Legal Aid – a system that is sorely under-resourced.

Some lawyers in the private sector may take a pro-bono case here and there, but most victims of financial misconduct won’t have that type of luck, unless their losses are so great that a private lawyer can turn it into a media circus.

And while collectively, the losses suffered by victims of fees for no service ‘scams’ are huge, individually, those losses are small, and many will have to wait on the outcome of the $1 billion ASIC civil action to see if they can recover those funds. But, as with all other recommended actions, it will be a long and drawn out process.

For those who fall through all those cracks, the royal commission recommended that the commonwealth establish a compensation scheme – one which the government claims it will set up as a last resort for consumers and small businesses to at least have their cases heard. 

And while Treasurer Josh Frydenberg claims this will be paid for by the industry, what of the $30 million the government will pay to around 300 consumers and small businesses for unpaid determinations from the Financial Ombudsman Service and Credit and Investments Ombudsman – a bill that may essentially fall to taxpayers.

Why aren’t the banks paying that bill, too?

There have been a lot of reports about how the report will affect banks and financial institutions, but little has been said of the real victims of these crimes.

In the Friday Flash Poll: Did the royal commission report go far enough?, YourLifeChoices asked its members what they thought of the royal commission report, and 84 per cent believe it did not go far enough towards addressing the crimes committed by these institutions.

Around 80 per cent think victims should be compensated for financial and emotional damage, and 97 per cent believe that banking and finance industry should pay for it. However, 83 per cent are not confident that the victims will be sufficiently compensated.

When asked if the royal commission final report has restored faith in the banking and finance industry, just three per cent said ‘yes, fully’, with 11 per cent saying ‘somewhat’.

The majority of older Australians aren’t convinced the report alone will be enough to improve the sector’s behaviour or reputation, with 37 per cent saying the report did nothing to restore their faith in the industry, a further 23 per cent saying, ‘not really’ and another 23 per cent reserving their judgement for a later date.

Only two per cent say they have always trusted banks and financial institutions.

One thing is for sure, very few people actually trust that ASIC and APRA will do what is necessary to bring the banks back into line, with just four per cent saying the regulators are capable of such a task, 14 per cent saying they are ‘unsure’ and a massive 82 per cent thinking it’s beyond them.

“Sack ASIC and APRA, as for years they have done absolutely nothing. Restructure and give them the power and teeth to prosecute the banks and their employees as the criminals they are, without any influence behind the scenes from the government. That is the only way to keep them working for the interests of the customers and not for greed,” wrote YourLifeChoices member 1984.

“Also, take legal action and recover all past bonuses plus any penalties for wrongdoing from CEOs (and any other senior managers) who are proved to have delivered the problems highlighted by the royal commission. The Government needs to act urgently to produce real outcomes following the RC,” wrote GeorgeM.

As a result, 94 per cent think the government should step in and do more to bring culpable individuals and institutions to justice.

Many YourLifeChoices members agree that banks and individuals should be held more accountable for their actions.

“More individuals should have been named and shamed. The likes of ASIC and APRA are too weak and underfunded to do any meaningful investigation, nor do they have the intestinal fortitude to do so. The Liberals will definitely not do anything, as after all the banks are their mates! Why did they fight tooth and nail to prevent a royal commission? The weasel words currently being bandied about that they will implement the 76 recommendations of the royal commission are only a pre-election stunt that no one will believe. In the end nothing will happen or change once the hue and cry dies down and I think we all know that!” wrote Chaz.

“The best response I read was, ‘if you walk into a bank and steal money, you go to jail, regardless. Bank personnel stealing from customers should likewise go to jail, regardless’”, wrote danielboonjp.

While media attention of the report has been steady over the past week, we’ll see how long it holds over the long and drawn out process of reform of the sector and, most importantly, compensation for the victims of these crimes.

Do you know if you’ve been the victim of these crimes? Is there any justification for taxpayers to foot the bill for the banks’ misconduct?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 53
  1. 0

    When a bank steals from a customer, executives receive a bonus.

    When a working man steals from a bank he goes to prison. That is the reality.

    • 0

      I hope you tell the bank when they make a mistake in your favour too.

    • 0

      Were you one of the 2% who said they trust the banks OG?., sounds like you do from your comments here.

    • 0

      Yes probably 20 times.

    • 0

      OG. I’ve never known a bank to make a mistake in my favour or against it.

      However, if by chance, for example, an ATM overpaid me, I would certainly let the bank know. I don’t accept banks defrauding customers anymore than I would cheat on a bank. Why destroy one’s reputation and good conscience over a piddling sum of money.

    • 0

      It is actually quite frustrating and yet funny telling someone they have made a mistake( in your favour). They weave and dodge trying to not admit it and they never seem to think its you that wants to give them money back. Sometimes if they are too smart for their own boots I just say don’t worry about it an d leave. If they are humble and act responsibly I tell them where the mistake was made and offer to pay it back. One even told me that I was the first honest person who had given money back.

      Don’t you just love human nature.

    • 0

      Well you have given yourself away with that statement OG, of course, as I said before, you and maybe Lothario must be bankers, or closely involved with the banking industry as they would be the only ones sticking up for the banks. Nothing either of you say will whitewash the conduct of the banks, so is the RC comng after you 2 OG?.

    • 0

      Ha ha I have better things to do than work as a banker.

  2. 0

    I predict the usual troll comments from the 3 stooges with no real content to offer apart from it’s their fault for investing badly & not the fault of the corrupt, thieving, greedy big end of town mates or the slack policies & constant protection from the LNP brotherhood.
    I hope there will be class actions against the CEO’s & their cronies & many criminal charges laid, pig might fly.

  3. 0

    The witch-hunt they was the RC is well and truly over
    No one loss large sums of money
    Most Australians are so over this beat up and would rather focus on more important stuff like labors disastrous franking credits policy

    • 0

      Not large sums? Some lost farms and houses and life savings, not much if its not yours.
      How can any CEO claim to be worth $5 million, $8 million or $10 million a year and then say “he didn’t know what was going on in his bank or business?” Any recompense should come 50/50% out of bank funds and the thieves, both who stole the money from customers.
      I agree however, that there is a real need for greater personal financial literacy. Anyone who thinks the banks should know better than them how much they can afford to repay each month needs to wake up to themselves. Its still no excuse for theft from the naïve.

    • 0

      Did you ever stop to think or ask how and why these people lost their farms and houses ?
      If you run a bad business you go bankrupt .
      Similarly if you can not afford your house repayments , the bank needs to recover its losses by selling your house

    • 0

      Lothario” I agree, except when one gets ripped off by any other business, you have legal recourse for recovery. Not so with the banks.
      Hell, even a Royal Commission cant touch them!

    • 0

      A small % maybe Lothario, would rather concentrate on FC, but all Australians concentrate on the banks disastrous behaviour, that is if they have any sense.

    • 0

      So it’s Ok to reimburse greed then?

    • 0

      I lost a house because the bank manager assured me that interest rates wouldn’t get over 16% when I borrowed at 12% having worked out 16% was my fail point.

      Assured me and shook my hand on in in the farm kitchen .

      At 23% I was in very big strife.

      Lesson. Never trust a banker or a bank and be careful to always have the funds at hand when borrowing.

      Bank manners try to make out they know what is going on. They don’t.

      Also never ever put a house up for collateral to a bank. They will lend unsecured if you hold your ground and they need the sale.

    • 0

      Why didn’t you fix the rate ?
      You can’t really blame the manager for your decision to risk it
      Even bank managers can’t prwduct the future

    • 0

      It wasn’t a fixable loan. I bought sheep to lower the micron level for wool production. It was a business loan.

      Farming is risky and so is borrowing from a bank. I borrowed in 1987 and ran slap into the crisis of 89 to 92.

      It was my own fault as you say. I didn’t know a thing about banking crises or sovereign default back then.

      I won’t make that mistake ever again was all I’m saying.

      Banks will make unsecured loans if forced to and I always have the funds now in case it goes wrong. A banking crisis will cause the best deal to go wrong. Pretending otherwise is stupid.

      You can’t trust a money grubbing banker.

  4. 0

    When any of the trolls comment or reply to a comment & start using ridiculous comments like “The witch-hunt that was the RC is well and truly over, & No one lost large sums of money” don’t give them any fuel to comment as they will only resort to name calling, abuse & bullying.

    • 0

      Well what would you call it other than a witch hunt? No nothing found so no witches to burn at the stake.

    • 0

      Well OG that is not what the PM just said at the Press Club, in answer to a question about what action would be taken against the banks. Watch a replay if you can, and you and all the others on here, who think the banks have done no wrong, will see that action is being taken.

    • 0

      Ha ha so he has to satisfy the do goodies in our society but most people realise that karma has finally come to the greedy and they don’t like it.

    • 0

      Ha ha Karma is a wonderful thing and many people will pay the compensation for those greedy few who weren’t man enough to blame themselves but blamed the bank instead. Unfortunately they will try it again next time greed gets the better of them.

  5. 0

    Meanwhile the armoured trucks are lining up at the banks to carry off the golden handshakes of those ‘leaving’ the sunken ship….

    RICO ’em!

  6. 0

    If you are having trouble with your posts going through – hit ‘post’, exit the page, and then re-enter it from your inbox. That works.

  7. 0

    “A sop to cerberus”…
    The Right fought against the RC. Eventually it got so bad they had to give in, but not before they bought enough time for the banks to do two things:
    1: Hide the real bad stuff.
    2: Offer up some sacrificial lambs to “keep the dumb public happy”.

    “Relax guys” (Was said over brunch) “We’ll get through this and it will be bizzo as usual in a few weeks”.

  8. 0

    I think OG needs to get out and about a bit more and see what is happening in the real world.

  9. 0

    Don’t go near a bank join a Credit Union you get a much better deal as you are a member ,simple really.

  10. 0

    Don’t go near a bank join a Credit Union you get a much better deal as you are a member ,simple really.

    • 0

      Credit unions rip you off in so many ways
      Their transaction ckharges are waaayyyy above the big banks and they charge you commissions and fees on your cards and mortgages in very ingenious ways
      They just don’t have the volume and size to keep costs down

    • 0

      To ask you to buy shares so that your kids can have an account. They then tell you you didn’t have to buy those shares and then refuse to refund what you paid for those shares. Degusting behaviour.

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