Welcome to Nab Lies

This is an unfolding story that needs to be told so other victims do not fall into the trap of thinking the NAB only tells the truth. They don't, they tell lies. And in actual fact the NAB will tell many lies to protect its interests.

In our case, we have just been through a review that has now lasted some 4 months. The review was carried out by the honourable Mr Jeff Kennett AC. Mr Kennett was supplied briefing information by the NAB. The briefing information was to give Mr Kennett a background of events that saw our companies liquidated in 2008 by the NAB. This information that was supplied to Mr Kennett has now been given to us for our perusal after we demanded the NAB release this information. We have noted many lies in the information that was given to Mr Kennett by the NAB. We are now determined to investigate the source of these lies that came from the NAB.

As this investigation unfolds, we will update findings with the hope of eventually showcasing the whole story so NAB can be shown for what it truly is. We are very confident as we hold all historical documents that prove our case and that the NAB has lied in this review process many times.

Russ Cousins

NAB Victim

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INFORMATION UPDATE 23 April 2019

Our investigations with the documents now supplied by the NAB clearly reveal that the NAB supplied incorrect information to Mr. Kennett on some 17 occasions to cover up the fact that the NAB criminally engineered defaults on our Companies.

The facilities were called in by James Wickham, Manager, NAB, (The Demands) on the 29 October 2008 and 6 November 2008. The controllers were then placed into our Companies on the 11 November, 5 days later. ASIC was informed by the controllers and my rights were taken away, and a re-finance was now impossible.

A "Notice of Agreed Changes" dated 10 April 2008 shows that the new expiry date (roll over date) to be the 30 Sept 2008.

The Document states "Unless we tell you otherwise, we will conduct another general review of these facilities in approximately 12 months"  (10 April 2009)

The NAB prior to 30 Sept 2008 did not give us any notice that they would not roll over the facilities on this date 30 Sept 2008. The facilities were not in arrears and all payments were up to date.

The information that was supplied to Mr. Kennett by the NAB from Paul Boghdadi, "Manager, Customer Experience Improvement" was a disgraceful attempt to cover up the real facts.

Mr. Baghdadi stated, that at this point in time I was bankrupted and had no rights, this was incorrect and was an untrue shocking statement made to both Kennett and McLaughlin in writing.

Mr Kennett requested more information regarding this so called bankruptcy. Mr. Baghdadi replied in NAB - Answers (Fairness Review) that the banks reference to this bankruptcy was an error by the NAB and Cousins was not in bankruptcy.

The request for meetings in Brisbane on the 13th October and on the 14th October 2008 were not received at the office in Ravenshoe, by email as work was being carried out at the Timber Plantation for the preparation to cut Timber to assist in cash flow for the Company. These emails were sent to the Cairns office and were not sited until my return to Cairns some 7 days later.

At this point of time we were based some 1900 klms away from Brisbane and did not receive these requests by email until we returned to Cairns, and were not given the appropriate time to prepare an updated cash flow on the current projects.

Cairns Accounting Services was preparing this document for distribution to the NAB. 

On the 11th November 2008 "Deed of Appointment of Mortgagees Agent" was signed by Collins & Morton at 4.55 pm which took all my rights away. At this point in time the accountants were preparing updated cash flows to show our stable position.

Mr Kennett and Mr Kennett's Lawyer, James McLaughlin were presented with all documents showing the true information of our demise at our initial meeting. We can see now that this information was discarded and not examined by Mr Kennett, or his Lawyer, and that Mr Kennett only went on the false information supplied by the NAB.

We now have in our possession this information supplied to Mr Kennett and can see that the NAB has supplied false information to cover up the engineered defaults on our Companies.

An arrogant NAB did not comply with it's obligations to our Companies under the 2004 Code of Banking Practices. Had they met these obligations with regards the Code then these criminal engineered defaults would not have been able to eventuate under clause 25.2 of the Code.

Now that we have come full circle with this new information supplied after 10 years by the NAB, it is clear to see that the engineered default on my Companies was an act of fraud.

In an email from Kerry Vasiliadis : Office of the CEO & Executive Leadership Team, on the 22 March 2019 Ms Kerry Vasiliadis stated: 

"As you know Mr Kennett conducted a review of your dispute and issued his determination in a letter to you dated 22 January 2019. Unfortunately Mr Kennett did not find in favour of your position and recommended that no compensation would be payable. We appreciate that this outcome may be disappointing to you, however we now consider the matter to be closed".

In response to Ms Vasiliadis's email I can assure her and the "Executive Leadership Team" of one thing, and that is, that the criminal and fraudulent actions of the NAB will be relentlessly pursued until the Victims of the NAB receive justice.

Over the coming weeks we will be requesting the fraud squad to review the materials and evidence on this matter.

Russ Cousins

NAB Victim

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INFORMATION UPDATE 08 MAY 2019

We have recently discovered a document that clearly shows that our Companies were not in default as stated by the NAB with the true facts being, that the NAB rolled the facilities over to be reviewed again on the 10th April 2009.

For whatever reason at this crucial time the NAB saw an opportunity to engineer a default on my Companies and fraudulently take away from us our Families assets. This was also done to many hundreds of others at this time.

The engineered default was carried out by middle management with the help of their lawyers. The NAB and their Lawyers did not comply at anytime with the "Code of Banking Practice", which the NAB adopted in 2004.

An arrogant and corrupt NAB has lied through this "SHAM REVIEW" instigated by CEO Thorburn and mediated by Jeff Kennett. A disgraceful attempt to withhold justice from the Victims of the NAB.

The Royal Commission has been a whitewash as once again the NAB is telling it's Victims to seek legal action through the court system.

In recent emails to Victims from the Office of the CEO & Executive Leadership Team, the NAB urges Victims to seek legal action through the Courts.  Victims of the NAB will not be wasting anymore of their money on Lawyers to fight this criminal organisation. These new actions against the NAB will be commenced in the criminal courts for "FRAUD" perpetrated by the NAB.

The Bank Victims organisation has now reviewed it's platform here in Australia with www.bankvictims.com.au. Bank Victims will now go global with the Bank Victims .com website which will be produced over the next 10 weeks to showcase to the world the criminal actions of the NAB in Australia and how the Australian Government has allowed for some 10 years the banks to free range on fraudulently steeling the peoples wealth. This MUST stop.

I send this polite message to Ms Kerry Vasiliadis : Office of the CEO & Executive Leadership Team and I would suggest that she pass this message on to the new CEO Mr Chronican.

"Victims of the NAB are determined to pursue the return of their stolen monies however long it takes. The Victims want back what is rightfully theirs, "THEIR MONEY" and the opportunity to again be a productive and a  contributing Australian Citizen."

"There is an opportunity for the new CEO today, to come to terms with what the NAB has done in the past and correct the situation by paying the Victims back their money. This window of opportunity exists today".

"Please consider this carefully and thousands will be able to move on and rebuild their lives, that have been damaged by NAB's actions."

 

Russell Cousins

NAB Victim

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INFORMATION UPDATE 11 JUNE 2019

NAB Victims are outraged by this new attempt to push Victims claims back into the Court system.

With over 1300 interactions on nablies.com Victims want justice and the return of there monies taken from them.

Victims report that the culture of the NAB has not changed with the appointment of the new CEO Mr. Chronican.

The NAB are telling it's Victims to seek justice through the court system again.

The 'SHAM REVIEW' which commenced some 6 months ago under the direction of the former CEO Mr. Thorburn has not achieved a fair or reasonable result to the NAB's many Victims.

The Victims want their monies returned to them and the Victims want Justice now.

The 'SHAM REVIEW' has wasted another 6 months, but this is what the NAB does so well. DENY, DECEIVE AND DELAY.

The Victims have no money left to go back into Court to fight for the return of their monies.

The following videos will give you an insight into how corrupt the NAB really are, and how they operate to extract their customers monies.

Here are some video examples of how the NAB operates by using engineered defaults to facilitate a 'STING' and steal their customers wealth.

'A disgraceful and arrogant NAB will be held accountable for their actions'.

 

VIDEO 1.  NAB BASTARDRY

http://bankvictims.com.au/index.php/media-gallery/437-todaytonight-more-nab-bastardry?category_id=4

 

VIDEO 2. Part 1.

60 Minutes Australia: Crook deal, part one (2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgF8E93rf2E&t=10s

 

VIDEO 2. Part 2.

60 Minutes Australia: Crook deal, part two (2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZEDMfnyZ6Q&t=12s

 

Russ Cousins

NAB Victim

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INFORMATION UPDATE 6 August 2019

 

NAB admits to Rip-Offs even as the Royal Commission rages.

 

Over many years the NAB have stolen from it's loyal customers. The NAB have not just stolen but sent many of it's customers into bankruptcy and poverty.

The NAB have engineered defaults on thousands of small businesses, and with the help of their lawyers and receivers have pocketed what was never rightfully theirs.

It is now with the thanks to a Whistleblower that Australia and the World can truly see that the NAB is just another criminal organization masquerading as a bank.

I have this message for Ms Kerry Vasiliadis, the CEO and the Executive Leadership Team.

 

"The NAB have acted Fraudulently against the people who trusted your organisation. It is now time to repair the damage the NAB has caused to these VICTIMS".

"Pay the Compensation that these VICTIMS are entitled to Now. As I have stated on many occasions, we will relentlessly pursue the return of our monies and there will be no closure until compensation is paid to these legacy cases.

The following story by Adele Ferguson gives you a true insight as to how the NAB operates.

 

Russell Cousins

NAB Victim

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Time's up for Henry but also the billion-dollar audit club


The latest National Australia Bank scandal has triggered unanimous bipartisan support for a parliamentary inquiry into the potential conflicts of the big audit firms. It is long overdue.

So too is the departure of NAB’s chairman Ken Henry, who needs to reassess whether he should leave now instead of waiting until later this year. The drums are beating louder.

On Friday, NAB and auditor EY were reeling after a trove of leaked documents handed to The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald  by a whistleblower shone an embarrassing light on the private workings of the bank and the cosy relationship with its auditor of 13 years, EY (formerly Ernst & Young).

Besides triggering a parliamentary inquiry that will start later this year, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann was asking NAB for a more immediate 'please explain'.

The documents make for disturbing reading.

They included confidential minutes of a meeting where Henry privately told EY consultants in the midst of the Hayne royal commission he was "confident" the bank was still selling products that ripped off its customers and would eventually trigger compensation.

Is confident that there are products currently being sold now that they will need to remediate in the future (highlighted an example of SMSF borrowing to invest in managed funds) Quote from EY interview minutes with Ken Henry - NAB chairman.

The bank and Henry remain silent on naming those products, admitting the number of customers who might be affected or saying whether the products are still being sold.

Instead it said: "In 2018 the board considered product problems or potential problems and moving proactively to ensure all NAB products remain fit for purpose. Executive and board customer committees are now examining issues such as complaint handling processes and proactive identification of product hot spots."

Its chief risk officer in a statement said a review of all NAB products has commenced.

As bad as this all is, the leaks go far deeper than NAB and the enormous challenges it faces in its lax systems.

"In the financial services sector it seems an independent report is whatever the client’s money can buy".

They raise questions about the cosy relationship between audit firms and their clients, which is profoundly serious, and which prompted the latest NAB whistleblower to speak up.

It is also big business. In the past decade the big four auditing firms earned more than $1 billion from the big four banks in auditing and non-auditing fees.

EY trousered $286 million from NAB in audit and non-audit fees.

Labor senator Deborah O'Neill, who called for the inquiry, said: "It is fundamental that we look into this if we want to fix the system and restore Indeed, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC's) latest audit inspection report found a massive 20 per cent of the audits it examined had a deficiency. It is a statistic that should raise the alarm that something is rotten in the industry.

The former corporate regulator Greg Medcraft, who is now head of financial affairs at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris, told The Herald and The Age that the declining quality of auditing in Australia and globally could lead to a black swan event, such as an Enron-style collapse.

Medcraft said one of the issues was the big four auditing firms cut their audit fees and subsidise them with the more profitable consultancy work.

In other words, auditing has become a loss leader, junior people are working in the jobs and the real money is made in consulting including pumping out "independent reports".

EY's 'no surprises' plan for NAB

The trove of documents raise questions about what independence really means. In the financial services sector it seems an independent report is whatever the client’s money can buy.

This is made clear when comparing the blunt internal observations made by EY employees with the more tempered language that is used in the draft report. If that wasn't clear enough, a proposal letter to get the job promised it would be "a no-surprises approach".

The regulator, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, is obviously content with that. It seems its definition of independence is as loose as anyone’s.

APRA believes an internal person can fit the independence requirement when it comes to putting together a CPS 220 report into a bank's risk management framework.

The reality surely is that anyone on the payroll isn’t independent. That should include an external auditor which, like EY, has been checking the books for 13 years and earning well over $20 million a year from the client.

It all just casts more doubt over the declarations of openness and accountability from the banks that have followed the royal commission.

In his final report, commissioner Kenneth Hayne voiced concerns about Henry's famous testimony.

"Overall, my fear – that there may be a wide gap between the public face NAB seeks to show and what it does in practice – remains," he wrote.

Hayne was spot on.

Adele Ferguson’s book Banking Bad is out on August 5. Click here for more information.

This article was first published by Adele Ferguson from Sydney Morning Herald
Adele Ferguson is a Gold Walkley Award winning investigative journalist. She reports and comments on companies, markets and the economy.
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NAB suffers dramatic 10.6% profit fall in wake of banking royal commission

No short-term bonuses or pay rises for bosses as lender puts aside $1.1bn in damages for customers
NAB’s interim chief executive, Phil Chronican, has announced a sharp fall in profit, in part due to the scandals exposed by the banking royal commission. Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/AAP
NAB has wound up a traumatic 12 months in which it lost its chief executive and chairman by announcing a 10.6% drop in full-year profit and cutting its final dividend.
The bank’s full-year results on Thursday also showed that the lender will have to pay $1.1bn back to customers in compensation resulting from a range of mis-selling and misconduct scandals exposed by the banking royal commission.
The acting chief executive, Phil Chronican, who took over when Andrew Thorburn quit in February after heavy criticism from the commission, said the bank had faced a “very challenging” year that had required “significant actions” to deal with past problems and to regain the trust of customers and the public.
Chronican said the bank was two years into a three-year transformation plan aimed at improving service and compliance. But he said the executive management would not receive any short-term bonuses or pay rises.
“While we have made progress, it is not enough to be recognised in executive short-term variable reward in 2019,” Chronican said.
Shares in NAB lifted 2.6% to $27.80 on Thursday as investors hoped the bank could now draw a line under the fallout from the royal commission.
Analysts at UBS warned that it was still a “soft result” for the bank and said it faced worsening conditions and falling asset quality as mortgage arrears rose in every state.
The lender will pay a fully franked final dividend of 83c – down from 99c a year ago – mirroring the cut to its interim payout in May.
Stripping out the cost of customer remediation and a software overhaul, the bank’s profit fell by 8.6% to $8.2bn as revenue fell by 4.2% to $17.2bn for the 12 months to 30 September.
Although the bank’s cash profit was still $5.097bn despite the 10.6% plunge, NAB – along with the rest of the banking sector – has been hard hit by the steady fall in interest rates over the past year.
NAB’s net interest margin – the difference between the interest it earns from loans and what it pays to fund them – declined seven basis points to 1.78%.
The full-year report blamed the weak operating environment for the “disappointing” result, with earnings declining across its consumer, corporate and business divisions.
Chronican will soon hand over to the incoming chief executive, Ross McEwan, on a permanent basis. He will then move into the chairman’s role vacated by Ken Henry, who also announced in February that he was standing down in the wake of the commission’s criticism of his leadership.
NAB’s poor results were widely expected by the market. Westpac announced this week that it had cut its dividend for the first time since 2009 as its cash profit fell 15%. The bank has also been forced to raise $2.5bn to meet regulatory capital requirements and legal costs related to its near $1bn customer remediation charges.
This article was first published by https://www.theguardian.com/australia
Author: Martin Farrer
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NAB chief of staff falsely used 'Project Eagle' Mike Baird as alleged cover for fraud

Former premier Mike Baird, pictured with former NAB chief Andrew Thorburn, upon joining the bank in April 2017.Credit:Pat Scala

When the former chief of staff to the National Australia Bank boss forwarded an email containing an invoice - marked “Project Eagle”- for services from one of the bank’s major contractors, she didn’t mince her words.

“This invoice needs to be paid by us ... it relates to Mike's on-boarding,” wrote Rosemary Rogers.

The invoice was for $2.2 million. And "Mike" was former NSW premier Mike Baird.

It was September 2017, five months after Mr Baird had joined NAB as chief customer officer in corporate and institutional banking.

The Herald can now reveal Mrs Rogers, 43, allegedly told a finance partner at the bank the hefty invoice was for activities associated with courting Mr Baird - internally codenamed "Eagle" at NAB - as a new recruit for an executive position.

In reality, the $2.2 million invoice had allegedly come from Human Group, the North Sydney-based executive events firm on the other side of a lucrative contract with NAB, now the subject of a major bribery and corruption scandal engulfing the bank.

Rosemary Rogers, former chief of staff to ex-NAB CEOs Cameron Clyne and Andrew Thorburn, leaves Surry Hills police station after being granted bail.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

All $2.2 million would be paid by the bank to Human Group on October 3, despite having no involvement with Mr Baird's "on-boarding" and induction to NAB, which was in fact conducted by another external company for around $60,000.

The Herald alleges no wrongdoing on Mr Baird's part and acknowledges he had no involvement or knowledge of the use of his name in Mrs Rogers' claims.

Less than two years on, an extensive investigation into the dealings between Human Group and the offices of former chiefs of staff to CEOs Cameron Clyne and later, Andrew Thorburn, has netted two scalps.

The investigation by the NSW financial crimes squad's Strike Force Napthali is ongoing.

The past week has seen the arrest and subsequent charging of both Mrs Rogers and Human Group director Helen Rosamond, 43, who between them face more than 100 charges of bribery and corruption between 2013 and 2017.

It follows an internal whistleblower letter to management at the bank alleging misconduct in December 2017, before the bank reported the allegations to police on January 30 last year.

Both women stand accused over an alleged kickbacks scheme, in which extravagant bribes were paid in order to maintain the contract between the two organisations and to ensure the approval of over-inflated invoices to the bank.

One such bribe was allegedly a $10,000 prepaid credit card, gifted to Mrs Rogers, who then re-gifted it to the executive assistant of then-CEO Clyne, who said she received it “on behalf of Rose and Cameron".

Former NAB chief Cameron Clyne.Credit:Sasha Woolley

Mr Clyne has told police he has no knowledge of this card.

What, if any, bribes were paid in the five years prior to 2013, when the formal contractual relationship between the two organisations began, remains unknown.

The alleged bribery, fraud and corruption at the centre of the scandal is so complex, the cost of forensic accounting to the bank since has grown such that it may have been a factor in the bank’s decision not to examine any period prior to 2013.

Documents tendered for the first court appearances for the two women this week reveal four years of decadent travel, fine dining, luxury accommodation and other perks allegedly enjoyed by Mrs Rogers and her family and paid for by Ms Rosamond, all in the service of a $40 million corporate contract.

Police allege the benefits were the result of a deal to maintain a contract worth $40 million with Human Group, and to "rubber-stamp" bloated invoices submitted by the events firm.

This week the 43-year-old was arrested when she travelled to Sydney to attend the Surry Hills police station. There she was charged with 56 counts of bribery and two of fraud, on a rap sheet revealing almost $6 million in actual benefits she allegedly enjoyed between 2013 and 2017.

Ms Rosamond has also been charged with more than 50 bribery and corruption related offences.

Now further details uncover just how far the alleged deception went.

In 2017, a house for sale caught the eye of Mrs Rogers, then a prominent executive adviser at NAB.

The Williamstown house, in Melbourne's inner west, purchased by Rosemary Rogers.

It’s a homeowner’s dream: 1880s architecture, complemented with an indoor pool, climate-controlled pavilion, four bedrooms, two bathrooms and an open-plan kitchen, all tucked away on a leafy block less than 10km from Melbourne’s CBD.

One real estate listing described the $3.8 million Williamstown property as “Victorian elegance” meets “today’s excellence”.

In August 2017, Mrs Rogers - wife of Anthony Rogers and a mother of two - was seeking out her NAB personal banker, with a $3.8 million property purchase in mind.

Helen Rosamond, former CEO of executive events firm Human Group.Credit:Jessica Hromas

In less than a month, Mrs Rogers and her husband signed a contract of sale for 40 Power St, Williamstown, with the $380,000 deposit paid to the real estate agent three days later by Ms Rosamond.

By the end of October, NAB had paid the $2.2 million invoice issued by Human Group, while Mrs Rogers had submitted a letter for a loan application, purportedly signed by her parents-in-law Clifford and Janis Rogers, stating that they would be contributing $1.2 million as a gift to assist with the purchase of the Williamstown house.

The indoor pool of the $3.8 million home.

Police investigators have since identified differences between the actual signatures of Mr and Mrs Rogers snr and those on the letter, while it is understood Mr Rogers has told police the signatures were not genuine, nor had he ever seen or signed a letter regarding a gift of $1.2 million.

But the 1880s home would still be purchased thanks to an alleged $1.5 million transferred by Ms Rosamond to Mrs Rogers and her husband.

It is now alleged that funds paid to Human Group following the issue of the $2.2 million invoice contributed to the purchase of the Williamstown home.

The four-bedroom house is one of a number of Mrs Rogers' assets frozen by the NSW Crime Commission last year, along with three of her bank accounts and a $1 million NAB bank cheque.

Before she resigned from the bank in December 2017, Mrs Rogers managed the office of the CEO and was its senior adviser, enjoying a salary package of almost $700,000, including bonuses. She was granted a final payout of around $185,000.

Among her responsibilities was managing the NAB employee gift register, in accordance with company policy that any gifts over $300 received by an employee are to be entered into the register.

Palazzo Versace on the Gold Coast.

Court documents reveal an array of alleged gifts paid for by Ms Rosamond and given to Mrs Rogers over the four years in question, such as a one-month family holiday to Europe worth almost $188,000, another family trip to the US for $485,000, extravagant weekends away in Wolgan Valley and at the Palazzo Versace on the Gold Coast.

For these group holidays, and others, Mrs Rogers also allegedly received a separate contribution, paid into her personal account by members of her family, to go towards the trip.

More than $30,000 for an in-home nanny, $128,000 in renovations, a BMW X5 and a $46,000 Bayliner boat - plus marina berthing fees - were also among benefits allegedly received.

But not all gifts were so extravagant. Others included prepaid credit cards used for expenses such as a Telstra account bill, an Energy Australia bill and women's clothes at Witchery.

It is understood there is no record of any of the benefits allegedly received by Mrs Rogers in the gift register.

A formal agreement between NAB and Human Group was first signed in 2008, underscoring a relationship in which Human Group manage executive events, such as off-site meetings of the board, the executive leadership team and other forums.

As of 2015 NAB would be the sole client of Human Group, which is no longer trading.

It is understood this professional relationship, almost solely managed by Mrs Rogers and Ms Rosamond, led to a friendship developing between them.

National Australia Bank's former CEO Andrew Thorburn.Credit:Eddie Jim

From 2010 onwards, the bank's contract for executive event services was never put out to tender, instead it was extended every two years by way of a one-page letter. Throughout this period almost all invoices and payments were handled by Ms Rosamond and Mrs Rogers on either end.

It is alleged Ms Rosamond would submit an invoice directly to Mrs Rogers, who would pass it on to an accounts team in NAB, before it would find its way back to her as the final approver.

Over 12 years, the roll-over contract was worth almost $120 million, before it was terminated in February last year.

Both Mrs Rogers and Ms Rosamond are on bail in their respective home towns of Melbourne and Sydney, bound by strict conditions, including that they do not contact one another after a court heard there was an ongoing “risk of collusion” between the two women, who had been in contact “since being made aware of the investigation” against them.

The alleged scam could hardly come at a worse time for NAB under new chairman Phil Chronican.

The Melbourne-based bank was wounded by the royal commission more than any other big four lender, with the dramatic resignations last month of its former chief executive Andrew Thorburn, and chairman Ken Henry.

Managing director of NAB shareholder White Funds Management, Angus Gluskie, described the alleged bribery as a "really bad circumstance".

"It's exactly what you don't want to see," Gluskie says. "I think it raises questions about how loose things were and what needs to be tightened up."

An NAB spokesman said police had confirmed that "no one at NAB is under investigation, and there is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by anyone at NAB."

With Clancy Yeates

This article was first published by https://www.smh.com.au/

Author: Lucy Cormack

Lucy Cormack is a crime reporter with The Sydney Morning Herald

 

Millions of bank customers have got money back but

for others, the wait continues

It has been one year since the banking royal commission dragged the chief executives of the big four into the witness box during its final public hearings, but for many customers who have been ripped off, the pain is not a thing of the past.

Key points:

More than 2 million bank customers have received compensation from the big four banks
Other people who say they were the victims of bank misconduct say the royal commission has not helped their fight
New complaints authority AFCA will run a compensation scheme of last resort but it is only applicable to some cases

"It's ripped ten years out of my life and the toll has been enormous. It's just caused… it's on my mind 24/7, it's never ever, ever, left me," said John Rose, an entrepreneur scammed out of millions by his former business partner.

Mr Rose spoke to The Business from outside NAB's Melbourne headquarters, standing next to a truck he had hired, towing a billboard declaring "I got Nabbed", asking other bank victims to contact him.

"There's no "These big institutions are like an aircraft carrier, you can't turn them around … not in five minutes, anyway." about it, it's still ongoing, it's still happening," he said.

 "These big institutions are like an aircraft carrier, you can't turn them around … not in five minutes, anyway."

John Rose made his fortune by inventing the Stackhat bike helmet but said he unwittingly guaranteed a multi-million-dollar loan for his former business partner, Tim Rice.

Dragged to the Supreme Court to pay up, he beat the bank and won again when the bank appealed.

However, he is still owed millions and it took the stunt with the billboard to secure a meeting with NAB.

A year since the royal commission's final hearings, victims of bank misconduct are concerned little has changed and justice is further away than ever.

Meantime the sector continues to be hit by scandals.

Banking industry's problems continue

Last week, Westpac lost its chair and chief executive, accused by regulator AUSTRAC of "indifference" and "inadequate oversight" of money laundering and terrorism financing laws.

Most horrifically, the bank failed to prevent customers, including a convicted child sex offender, sending money to pay for child exploitation, including the live-streaming of children being raped.

This latest scandal comes as the banks continue to pay the price for past misconduct.

Australia's big four banks — the Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, ANZ and NAB — have returned $1.5 billion in compensation to more than 2 million customers.

Another $5 billion in remediation is expected to flow soon, as the banks also spend hundreds of millions of dollars on new systems to fix old problems and prevent new ones.

Even ANZ's chief executive, Shayne Elliott, has been caught up in the so-called fees-for-no-service scandal.

Mr Elliott told the House of Representatives Economics Committee he had received $137 in repayments for money his own bank unlawfully took from his accounts.

Shayne Elliott: The million customers we've refunded already today, most of them just got a cheque in the mail and a nice letter and they didn't even realise. I've had three. I got the letter saying, 'Mr Elliott, we've overcharged—'

Tim Wilson MP: Just to clarify, you're the CEO of this bank, and you got three letters from yourself saying 'I took three amounts of money'?

Shayne Elliott: Yes. One was $30, one was $27 and one was $80. That's what's happening.

Farmer's five-year, 40,000km fight with NAB

Unsuccessful in having his case presented at the royal commission, farmer Bill Mott is still trying to get answers from NAB.

He claims he was mis-sold unsuitable products and fleeced by interest linked to the manipulated bank bill swap rate (BBSW).

Forced into default five years ago, his $22 million farming empire was sold for $7 million.

"Did the whole job on me with receivership and everything else, gutted our family, destroyed my marriage," Mr Mott said.

"Since [then] we've done forensic analysis of our accounts, they were gouging with interests and false charges. A lot of conduct, bad banking conduct.

"I've been negotiating with them personally, without a lawyer, for three years and all they do is just keep stonewalling me — I just can't get across the line."

Since he lost his farms, Mr Mott has had meetings with two NAB chief executives, the chief risk officer and a raft of senior bank figures.

From his home in Meandarra, Queensland, he's travelled more than 40,000 kilometres, much of it by car, visiting Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra twice each and making 11 trips to Melbourne.

Photo: Farmer Bill Mott did not have his case heard at the royal commission. (ABC News: Daniel Ziffer)

Despite a handshake deal with then-chief executive Andrew Thorburn, who promised to investigate his case, the bank has dismissed Mr Mott's request for an independent mediator.

Earlier this year, a process where Jeff Kennett acted as an arbitrator for a group of people with long-running complaints against NAB fell over, with most leaving the process and claiming the former Victorian premier had not been furnished with appropriate documents and took a harsh approach.

Mr Mott said all that is left is for him to take the bank to court, an expensive and difficult process.

"When a farmer takes on the bank and the bank has lawyers and God-knows-what behind him, you're never going to get justice through that system," the Western Downs farmer said.

"Even if we won in court they still don't have to pay, you know, this is the way the system works."

In a statement, NAB's executive general manager of customer resolution and remediation Jocelyn Turner said the bank worked with customers experiencing financial hardship.

"If we need to go to mediation to help resolve an issue, we offer up to six different options of experienced, legally-qualified mediators, usually a retired judge," she said.

NAB has, along with the other big four banks, adopted a "model litigant" policy, which commits the bank to act "honestly, consistently and fairly" and not take advantage of any imbalance in power between parties.

"We acknowledge the long-standing customer issues involving Mr Rose and Mr Mott," Ms Turner said.

"These cases have been going on for a long time and we understand this has had significant impacts on their lives.

"We continue to engage with Mr Rose and Mr Mott."

Bank victims felt ignored by royal commission

Naomi Halpern understands Mr Mott's frustration.

Ms Halpern was one of hundreds of people funnelled into managed investment schemes (MIS) by four Melbourne-based financial advisers.

"We know that marriages have broken up, kids have been taken out of schools because their parents couldn't afford to pay fees any more, people have lost homes," she said.

"It's devastating."

The experience of misconduct victims like Ms Halpern helped propel the royal commission into being but many felt victims were ignored.

"The people who brought this whole issue into the public awareness and some of the people who most desperately need not only compensation but restitution… have been completely wiped off," she said.

Photo: Naomi Halpern says bank misconduct has had a devastating impact. (ABC News: Daniel Ziffer)

A new body, the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), has been flooded with interest by consumers now aware of bank wrong-doing.

AFCA will also run the royal commission's most notable win for victims, a compensation scheme of last resort.

However, the scheme only covers firms that have become insolvent, and restrictions on time and the size of disputes mean Mr Rose, Mr Mott and Ms Halpern would not qualify.

Most disputes are against our biggest banks, among the most profitable financial institutions in the world.

The royal commission may have prevented future problems and addressed industry-wide issues, but customers fighting old ones say it has changed nothing.

This article was first published by https://www.abc.net.au/

Author: By business reporter Daniel Ziffer

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Big bank takes farming family's full monthly income as tightens grip

The drought is hitting hard on the Portegys family's dairy property. (A Current Affair)

A dairy farming family say they're at breaking point after claiming the bank took a full month's worth of milk income to pay for an overdraft.

The green tinge on Daniel and Zellan Portegys's property masks the ugly truth that the drought is starting to bite even in tropical north Queensland.

To get through until the wet season starts, they needed to buy feed for their dairy cows.

And with every other drought-stricken farmer needing the same, the cost is through the roof.

"I was scared to ask the bank for help because they bullied us last time, but I just didn't want to lose my animals again," Mrs Portegys told A Current Affair.

Their bank is NAB, which markets itself as an agri-business specialist.

The Portegys's - who say they've never missed a repayment in their lives - thought it would be alright to ask their bank if they could switch to interest-only repayments for a few months, until the summer rains arrive.

Zellan and Daniel Portegys say they've been left reeling by their bank. (A Current Affair)

Instead, the bank gave them a $20,000 overdraft specifically to buy feed for their hungry stock.

Two weeks later, the family's monthly milk cheque for $18,000 arrived.

"(NAB) just took it," Mrs Portegys said.

"They left no money for food, no money for anything, just took the whole lot."

The couple needed to free up some money to feed their cattle. (A Current Affair)

Mr Portegys, aged 50, has now had to take on a second job delivering molasses to other farms in the region.

His hours are now more gruelling than ever, but he said he's grateful to have the job and getting away from the stresses of the farm actually helped.

"Mentally it gives me relief from that back there, which probably my wife misses out on," he said.

"I get to meet a lot of people in this job, and I appreciate talking to them too."

With the family's milk income quarantined, the bank is effectively in control of what expenses they can and can't pay.

Mr Portegys said his motorbike and tractor repayments had been rejected by the bank.

"These sorts of things you need, they're not just to play around on," he said.

NAB said in a statement it "acknowledged the hardship" involved and "will continue to engage with Mr and Ms Portegys and their Rural Financial Counsellor to ensure they are working through their financial situation and offering the appropriate hardship measures".

Mr Portegys said he hoped somebody involved could visit his property and talk him through the strategy, to give him confidence he wasn't in danger of losing the farm.

Leaving the land has become the only option for many dairy farmers, as drought forces their costs up but supermarkets continue selling home-brand milk for less than water.

Milk prices have been languishing at rock bottom. (A Current Affair)

Last week, it emerged Coles had not even been passing on the full 10c/L drought levy added to the price of milk.

Another 486 dairy farmers have left the industry in the past year, meaning Australia is rapidly facing a future of importing fresh milk from overseas.

"It's absolutely a crisis, it's an emergency," Brian Tessman from the Queensland Dairy Farmers Organisation said.

Since A Current Affair became involved, NAB sent a regional manager out to see the Portegys family, and promised to give the couple control of their bank account again.

This article was first published by https://9now.nine.com.au/a-current-affair/
Author: Dan Nolan