All the striking force of the wettest bus ticket

Once again the Office of the Banking Ombudsman strikes with all the power of the wettest of bus tickets…

All we can do is continue to push back…eventually the weak link will give way…

Thanks, Nicola

I am concerned that the best time-frame your “Early Resolution Team” can deliver is three months, more so when ANZ is already trying to forcibly sell my home now.

Further, for the record, your office did not respond to my last complaint. You did not comment on the evidence presented to you of:

– ANZ’s quite deliberate deception and obstruction, including the blatant fabrication of evidence.

– ANZ’s acceptance of guarantees as forms of security enabling its obligation of disclosure under the Code of Banking Practice.

– ANZ’s reckless lending and failure to ensure, under the Code, that the – borrower was reasonably able to repay the loaned amounts.

– ANZ’s statements that it did have an obligation of disclosure, especially where additional lending might cause the guarantor to reconsider giving the guarantee or where that lending was outside the purpose for which the guarantee was originally given.

Even when directed by the chair of the Banking Ombudsman Scheme to review this case, your office deliberately restricted that review to the process and not the issues raised.

You have attempted to deflect inquiries to government agencies like the Privacy Commission, Commerce Commission, etc but in each case, these government agencies have referred the matters raised back to you.

Unfortunately for the banking public of New Zealand, your office remains the primary watchdog against predatory bank practices. It beggars belief that even after the two reports released by the FMA and Reserve Bank on banking culture and conduct (Bank Incentive Structures, Bank Conduct and Culture, that your office remains on protecting offending banks from the consequences of their poor conduct. It is the failure of the Banking Ombudsman Scheme that has allowed banks in New Zealand to take advantage of the vulnerable and disadvantaged.

Simon O’Neill

Living in limbo

So…yup…the game goes on…

Tenders for my home closed on Friday night and, as I understand it, there was only one response and that was a very low offer i.e. less than the adjacent property that sold a couple of months ago but which is not much more than four hectares of blackberry and a small totally non-compliant residence – compared to a fully compliant three-bedroom home, with a large garage, sleep-out, and sealed driveway on thee hectares of regenerating native bush…

Pretty much what we expected. ANZ is terrified of media coverage exposing its reckless lending and the deceptions it employed to cover it up. In a desperate attempt to shield the forced sale of my home from such attention, it cancelled the well-subscribed auction on 8 November in favour of a less favourable tender process. Many buyers who will happily bid at an auction will not submit a tender proposal because they see it – rightly – as carrying more risk than an auction.

ANZ can accept this low offer – and lose even more. It could reschedule the auction it so untidily cancelled on 8 November – after a suitable period of remarketing. It could accept that this is not going to get any better, cut its losses and make right the damage that it has dome over the last fourteen years…

So, here we are ANZ, Plan B worked no better than Plan A. Your sole response won’t come anywhere close to the amount of money that you are demanding as a result of your unchecked and reckless lending processes, your total and blatant disregard for the obligations placed on you by the Code of Banking Practice

Maybe it’s finally time to do the right thing, to cut your losses and make good the damage you have done…?

In other news, thank you to every one who called or messaged to give the Banking Ombudsman a nudge on Friday. I think that we can safely say that the message was received. While the Banking Ombudsman was too busy to make a simple call to ANZ to query its tender process under its fair, reasonable, ethical and consistent obligations in the Code, she did find the time to call me twice, and then my lawyer to complain about it.

Unfortunately this is a bed entirely of her own making. If you are going to be a watch dog, you need to be able to bark, not whimper and wag your tail. An agent of the Office of the Banking Ombudsman should enter a bank to the tune of the Imperial March not Here Comes the Sun.

I have been to the Banking Ombudsman three times: 2014, 2016 and 2018…and each time been totally underwhelmed:

  • Where we provided a legal opinion that ANZ erred in not informed me of the additional lending, the Banking Ombudsman did not explore this further because ANZ disagreed.
  • Where we requested a review of my case through the chair of the board of the Banking Ombudsman, the QC appointed to that review was specifically constrained to only consider the process followed and NOT the issues raised.
  • Where we provided evidence of quite blatant obstruction and deception on the part of ANZ New Zealand, the Banking Ombudsman was silent.
  • ANZ has an obligation under the Code to ensure that any body borrowing money from it is reasonably capable of repaying the loaned amount plus agreed interest. ANZ did not do that with this lending. The Banking Ombudsman would not comment.. 
  • The Banking Ombudsman attempted to deflect complaints to government agencies like the FMA, Privacy Commission, Commerce Commission etc. Each agency has responded that it considers the Office of the Banking Ombudsman to be the most appropriate agency for investigation and resolution of these and similar issues. While I tend to agree with the Banking Ombudsman’s logic on this, the Government, at this time, does not.

ANZ has desperately clung to the Banking Ombudsman’s findings as its sole defence against my challenges. Sometimes we wonder if anyone at ANZ has actually read those findings in the context of the actual complaints and whether its “the Banking Ombudsman says” mantra has always worked in the past to keep the light at bay…

Sooner or later, the Banking Ombudsman will need to review her position on these issues. They will not bear up under the light of increasingly public scrutiny…

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t…maybe the Banking Ombudsman is in a limbo similar to my own at the moment…

Time to do the right thing…