It comes to this…

 

A little over two years down the track from the surge of activity in the initial stages of this blog…the final stage, I guess…

In those two years, I ditched the lawyers who could not follow instructions and got recommended to one who wanted to get into the fight. In November 2016, we submitted a detailed complaint to the Banking Ombudsman. It was about 20 pages, cross-referenced to all the supporting documents.

The response from the Banking Ombudsman was that it was the same as the original complaint from 2014. ???? How can that be when the new complaint refers to information, including the loan documents that we didn’t have in 2014? Howq can that be when the 2014 complaint only referred to ANZ’s statements that it did have an obligation to disclose information to guarantors under certain criteria (which we said existed)

Draw your own conclusions if you like. 2014 complaint. 2016 complaint

After three months of pushing the Banking Ombudsman finally deigned to consider the issues raised…kind of…she managed to squeeze a response to the dozen or so questions raised into a single page.

Well, actually, she didn’t…she only considered one small part of the problem and probably hoped that the rest would just somehow go away…feb 17 other.JPG

The use of the ‘ and/other’ construction is not confusing – except possibly for someone trying to weasel out from its common meaning. If we say “apples and other forms of fruit” are we including apples as forms of fruit? Yes, we are. Unsure about this? How about if we spin it around and say “apples and other forms of vegetable”. No? Doesn’t work for you either…?

The Code of Banking Practice is what it is and says what it says not what the ANZ would like it to say or what it might say to make life less challenging for the Banking Ombudsman. It’s in black and white.

What is interesting and totally overlooked by the Banking Ombudsman is that ANZ’s own documents list guarantees as forms of security:

guarantee security
from the guarantee
loan doc security
from one of the loan documents

As Al Gore might say, an inconvenient truth….

And this is the crux of it…by failing to disclose this information to me – as it was required to – ANZ denied me any opportunity to prevent further lending, and mitigate or repay existing debt…

Even after I raised my concerns with ANZ – after learning almost by accident of the debt in 2013 – it still refused to disclose this information…but that’s our next story…

Back to ANZ…”Customer Relations”

The response from ANZ’s regional manager said that there are circumstances when ANZ has an obligation to tell a guarantor about changes to the lending that they are guaranteeing. These include when:

there are changes change that are likely to affect the guarantor’s decision to give, or continue to give, the guarantee; or

there is a  significant increase or change in lending beyond what would be contemplated by the parties when the guarantee was given.

This is what ANZ described as a ‘material change’. I don’t think that I am being silly if I consider the advance of hundreds of thousands of dollars of credit as a change likely to affect my decision to give or continue to give the guarantee. In the same vein, advancing that level of credit is certainly well beyond what was contemplated at the time that I gave the guarantee. Things like:

the purchase and/or sale of property; the approval of significant new loans;

the point when the company’s debt exceeded the value of its assets and thus directly impinged upon the guarantor;

applications, approved or otherwise, for mortgage holidays as these are generally indicative of cash flow issues within a company and which may thus directly affect the guarantee; and

instances where the company has defaulted in loan payments.

I wrote back stating that I believed that these circumstances existed in this case and asking ANZ to uphold its obligation. This is a major bank that undertakes in the Code of Banking Practice to treat its customers fairly, reasonably and ethically.

She didn’t answer respond and passed me to ANZ’s Customer Relations team…

In The Dukes of Hazzard, this is about where Waylon Jennings would drawl “Now, folks, this is what you call getting the good ol’ Hazzard run round…”

Seriously, had ANZ responded and cited the actual legislation that prevented it disclosing this information to me, I would not have been happy but que sera sera and I would have started packing…

…but…

…get this…

ANZ

…has not…

…once…

…stated, cited or otherwise referred to any law that prevents it disclosure information on company lending to the guarantor of that lending…