– With AAP
Letters sent just weeks after a heart attack, farms sold well under value and homes unprofitably sold are just some of the uncompassionate actions of ANZ the royal commission into banking has exposed this week.
This week the commission is focussing on banks’ dealings with farmers. Of the 268 submissions related to agricultural finance received by the royal commission, 32 relate to ANZ around the time it acquired farming lender Landmark in 2010.
Among the dozens of farmers who have been treated unfairly, or without compassion, were WA sheep farmers Stephen and Janine Harley.
When the Harleys received a letter from ANZ threatening they could lose their farm, it was just a few weeks after Stephen had suffered a heart attack, AAP reports.
The letter told them they were defaulting on their loan and had six months to pay off their entire debt, until March 2014. If they couldn’t, they’d have just one day to leave.
They received this despite Janine informing the bank her husband had been flown to Perth for heart surgery, in which she said, “I hope you can now understand the pressure we’ve been under… we ask that this is taken under consideration when a decision is made.”
The Harleys were one of many former Landmark Financial Services customers who ended up in financial difficulties and in ANZ's hands after its 2010 acquisition of the agribusiness loan book.