thoughtsonthebus

15 stops. 40 minutes. each day.

Tag: Banking

For every NAB Customer in Australia , please read. For every NAB Director in Australia, be aware.

During yesterday’s eviction of The Priestly’s, Chris Priestly bravely read out this letter to the NAB representative they sent, Mr Peter Mair.

You may have heard of Peter Mair, or you may have not. But a recent article shows he believes pensioners are hoarding $100 notes under their beds in order to rort the pension. Obviously a kind, and generous guy – who also used to be a Reserve Bank Official..

So why is an ex-RBA official, attending the eviction of just 2 normal farmers, 9 hours North-West of Sydney? hmm Interesting indeed. And not a question I actually have an answer to.

( Edit: After some diligent research, turns out there are two creepy bankers called Peter Mair. The one that attended the eviction, is not the same as the one who thinks Pensioners are rorting, but to be honest, the eviction Peter Mair looks even more sinister..)

A video of Chris reading this out will be available as soon as those wonderful citizen journalists and occupy activists return from supporting the Priestly’s. But in the meantime, have a read of it for yourself.

It’s a doozy 😀  I can’t wait to see the video xx

Chris Priestley to NAB Chairman and Directors 1 Feb 2013

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Forcing Farmers to choose between CSG and Crops

Yesterday, via getup.org, I submitted a letter to the MP of Dubbo, Troy Grant, to ask him to not allow CSG fracking in his area. See, some farmers want CSG – mainly because of the money. They have mortgages too (some at 18% interest rates) and so I wrote the following explaining myself. Following on is his response, and my subsequent response to him.

Silly.. He brought up “Code of Practise” with the wrong woman

Me:

“Please. Some of us can see further down the path, where all of our True-Aussie farmers land are sold off to Chinese Investors who don’t give a shit about the locals. Who don’t give a shit about the long term impact.Who don’t give a shit about where our food comes from.

Please stop the local farmers land from being exploited for gas, the Barwon runs through your land, and the hearts of the people. Please don’t force them to chose gas, as they cannot compete against the massive agribusiness’ that are taking over your local area.

The gas can only be extracted once, and then what? Land that CANNOT be used, water that CANNOT be used. People who have been used. Stand up, and say NO CSG IN MY AREA. Support your local farmers to take on the foreign ownership of land, to stop CSG (which is 80% sent overseas anyway). Help them to return to the land the way nature intended.

It’s in your hands. But will remain in the hands of your children. Are you prepared to do that?”

Him:

Dear Ms Sheppard

Thank you for your email/letter concerning the coal seam gas industry in New South Wales. The NSW Government has recently introduced 27 new measures to further safeguard the health and safety of the community, and to protect our valuable land and water resources.

These include:

  • a new policy to protect aquifers and prevent ground water contamination
  • the banning of dangerous chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process
  • new well drilling regulations
  • toughened penalties for environmental breaches.

The NSW Government has also implemented two new Codes of Practice that require world’s best practice for coal seam gas hydraulic fracturing and well design.

The new Codes of Practice were independently peer-reviewed by the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, Professor Mary O’Kane, and followed a 12 month moratorium on the granting of new approvals for use of hydraulic fracturing during coal seam gas drilling.

All coal seam gas exploration and production licences are subject to the new Codes of Practice, which are also included as a condition of title. Failure to comply with title conditions can result in enforcement action against the holder, including prosecution and title cancellation.

It should be noted that new techniques such as horizontal well drilling are emerging as an alternative to hydraulic fracturing and are more commonly used in NSW.

The NSW Government has recently increased the number of drilling inspectors in the field to improve the monitoring of gas exploration and production, and has appointed a Land and Water Commissioner to provide guidance to landholders and the community in relation to coal seam gas activities.

The coal seam gas industry has been operating successfully in NSW for more than 10 years without incident; and the development of a domestic industry presents a significant economic opportunity for NSW. Coal seam gas activities with unacceptable impacts will not be approved by the NSW Government. Governed by world-best practice regulations, NSW can benefit from the responsible development of a sustainable domestic gas industry.

Yours sincerely

Troy Grant MP | Member for Dubbo “

Me:

Thank you for your response, it is greatly appreciated.

I do have one further question. Could you please tell me who will be the party responsible for ensuring that companies adhere to the Code of Practise, is it mandatory to be a signatory to it and who will also investigate any complaints made against them by the general public.

The reason I ask, is that the Banking Code of Practise had recently been found to not be worth the paper it’s written on, with only 250 out of 2.5 million complaints being investigated. In actual fact, 2 of your constituents are about to be forcibly removed from their property tomorrow, due to misleading and unconscionable conduct by the NAB in not following the Banking Code of Practise; which is meant to protect people from having to fight the Banks in the Court. I suggest you take a few moments to read the following information linked here, as the media is currently on their way to film the eviction.

https://thoughtsonthebus.wordpress.com/tag/the-farmers/

MP Andrew Wilkie has submitted a Private Members Bill to make changes to this, to ensure the fair treatment of banking customers. This is 10 years after the Code of Practise for Banks was set up. If the CSG Code of Practise has no teeth, and the companies do not follow them, then the environmental impact would be much greater than Banks not following their Code. You can therefore perhaps understand my questioning the CSG Code of Practise legitimacy.

Thank you,

Katie Sheppard

The Farmers vs the Banks – Update

First of all, this linked article by Professor Evan Jones is amazing, detailed and extremely worthwhile reading.

Secondly -The Farmers have only a few days left until the Sheriff comes and seizes their property, yet still they fight! Amazing family, I’m so very proud to know them.

These attached letters show exactly why they are continuing to fight, and how the Bank’s and their  fraudulent and misleading behaviour towards treating you in a “fair and reasonable manner” is just a load of ..well, crap, to put it bluntly.

Link to – Priestly Letter to Cameron Clyne – NAB CEO – 6th Jan 2013

(The information sent to NAB by the Priestley’s was obtained from the Council of Small Business submission no. 90 (Attachment 1) published by the Parliament in 2011.) The link is here:

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate_Committees?url=economics_ctte/completed_inquiries/2010-13/banking_comp_2010/submissions.htm

Link to – Priestley to NAB Chairman Chaney 14 Jan 2013
ClementRodNABGRABAFR
Please share around, download the letters and the link, and help me spread the word. ANZ supporting mining is a big deal, but even bigger, is the fact that these banks KNOW if you complain, they don’t have to worry as they control the complaints process.

http://www.independentaustralia.net/2013/business/finance-2/business-as-usual-at-the-nab-and-grab/

 

102 is all it takes.

102 signatures.

That’s this morning, although it was probably closer to about 60-65 when the phone call came through.

The Farmers were on the phone.

Asking me what had I done. How did I do it?  

And telling me, that the NAB Solicitors had just been on the phone.

Telling them, that they had been *thinking* about their situation, and had *decided* that evicting them before Christmas was the wrong thing to do. And that they would like to allow them to stay until the 8th JANUARY!!!!

The sound of joy in her voice, is one that I will never forget.

The dancing around the restaurant that I was doing, is one that my work colleagues will never forget.

The feeling in my soul that I, we, had effected real change to real people, is one that will always be there. That change is possible, That people, working together, is a real and viable option. 

I was/am almost in a state of disbelief. I mean, this is the one of Australia’s largest banks – one of the “Big 4”, and yet a small group of dedicated people had forced their hand to be more compassionate.

The only people in the world that can make real changes is everybody.

Each one of us, joining hands with out friends/family/internet citizens, can make real change.

I can’t get them their farm back.

But I will forever know, and hold dear, that visual of just one family being happier on Christmas Day.

One at a time. I’ve made a start.

xxx

 

NAB evicting Farmers on Christmas Eve.

Image

 

Please.. everyone. I don’t often ask for your help, to really come together and to make a direct change.

The Priestley’s (Farmers) are being evicted on Christmas Eve.(if not this Sunday). From the house that their father, who died from the stress of this horrific court case just over a year ago, had lived in his whole life. And due to the NAB refusing to delay a hearing, Chris and Claire were actually in court in Sydney at the time their father passed away. They can never get that back.

And now, the NAB has beat them in the courts, the very place the Code of Banking Practise is meant to stop struggling farmers and small businesses ending up in. The code is meant to make things fairer, but they’ll do their damnedest to get you in court, so they can flex their legal and finance capabilities against you.

Even the most recent Judge stated that the “CEO has a lot to answer for”. He had been given a copy of the leaked “Constitution” document, that categorically states there is an over-arching, joint sitting, round-table group of Bank CEO’s that decide which cases are investigated when a complaint is made to the supposed “Independent” Code Monitoring Committee. Really. This “Association” exists. In Australia.

But with the Priestley’s eviction imminent, they’re no longer being given the opportunity to sit around the Aussie Christmas dinner table, with their close friends and family, and farewell the memories of the past 100 years that their family has worked this land and built this home.

To have lawyers and bankers come to your door, on such a day that heralds “peace on earth, good will to men” is just sickening and despicable.

I want to change this. I want them to have some sort of chance at closure, although there will never been an end to this in their hearts. But to at least offer them a mental closure, a chance to farewell, to say thank you and good bye to their home.

I want to give them Christmas in the house.

But I don’t know what to do? And I need help to get this the exposure it deserves. Perhaps an avaaz petition? I want this to be enormous, using media and peaceful methods. I’m a new activist, and need some help x

Help me harness the true spirit of Christmas. Help me, help others xxx

Are you being served? Complaints against banks go unheard by independent committee.

In approximately 3 weeks ( NB- was originally written in Aug 2012 – still yet to make the floor) , a Private Members bill, submitted by Independent MP-Andrew Wilkie, will be presented to the Parliament.

The bill, known as the Banking Amendment (Banking Code of Conduct) Bill, requests the Australian Government to make it mandatory for all banks conducting business in Australia to adhere to a set of rules governing their behaviour towards individuals and small businesses, with breaches of this new code allowing APRA to name and shame the banks publically, and sanctioning fines for grievous or continuous breaches of the code.

New code?
That would mean there is a current code.
So, what’s wrong with the current code, and why would we need to change it?

Glad you asked.

Because if you have a bank account with a bank in Australia, if affects you.
If you have a credit card, car loan, home loan, overdraft with a bank in Australia, if affects you.
If you are a small business in Australia, it affects you.

It goes a little something like this:

The 1980’s – Systematic de-regulation of the Australian Banking industry. Recession.

1991 – A report, known as the Martin Report, was submitted to Parliament. This report was an investigation into the behaviour of banks, specifically, establishing a formal system of self-regulation, based on a government approved set of codes. It further raised the issue of the high-costs associated when there was a legal dispute between a customer and a bank, as customers were forced to fight them in the courts. Banks, as we have all seen, have an amazing amount of money, and legal expertise at their fingers. Individuals, small businesses, including farmers, do not. The playing field here was more like a black run in the ski-fields of Switzerland, than the level cricket pitch it is meant to be.

Thus, one of the recommendations laid down in the Martin Report, was to correct this, and allow any and all complaints to go through an independent body where a fair investigation would be conducted and decisions could be made without forcing people to go through the costly legal system.

However, instead of the Government taking this on board, and making it mandatory, the banks turned around and said “ Hey – fair enough, but we’ve got this. You don’t need to oversee it. We’ll make sure this happens”.

And so they did. They came up with a list of behaviours to adhere to, with hardly any of these codes aligning with the recommendations of the Martin Report, and they called it the “Banking Code of Practise (1993)” It took 2 years for it to be written, and another 3 years for the code to be adopted in 1998 and even then, it was a voluntary code, which APRA didn’t have to monitor (only have to regulate mandatory codes).

To date, 16 banks have signed up to it, each of them adopting only the parts of the code they wished to.

These early terms were very simple.
a) The banks would adhere to the terms within the code and
b) ANY and ALL complaints would be investigated.

In May 2000, The Australian Banking Association (ABA) appointed Richard Viney, to conduct a review of the code with industry, government and consumer advocacy groups. This happened at the same time the Minister of Financial Service and Regulation, Joe Hockey, was pushing for an increased level of “self-regulation” to occur within the Financial Industry.

The updated recommendations submitted were that small businesses would now be protected under the code, a Principle of Fairness charter would be added (requiring banks to deal “fair and reasonably towards [you] in a consistent and ethical manner”), and that a new, separate and independent Monitoring Committee should be established to investigate any breaches of the code. This group, created in 2004, was/is known as the “Code Compliance Monitoring Committee”, or CCMC, and was/is selected by, appointed by and funded by the very banks themselves.

This however, prompted the banks to reconsider the terms and wording of the entire Code, and in 2003, Gail Kelly (then STG CEO) and John McFarlane (ANZ CEO) presented the updated “Banking Code of Banking Practise (2003)”. The loopholes snuck into this new code of 2003, were such, that no longer would the CCMC be available to investigate any and all complaints, but that they were restricted to levels unimaginable.

This is because, shortly after the terms of the Code were changed, a secondary contract was put in place, by a group known as the Code Compliance Monitoring Committee Association, or CCMCA.

And the people within the CCMCA are who? Well, no-one knows for sure, because it is an “undisclosed” body, however it has been said to be a cartel, containing only Bank CEO’s. This contract, or “Constitution” was placed over the behaviour and operational activity of the Compliance Monitors.

The systematic gutting on the rules surrounding the terms of investigation have been so successful for the banks, that since 2003, approximately 2.5 million complaints have been lodged, with about 250 actually being investigated by the CCMC to have breached the code.

To give you an example, 2.5 million complaints to 250 investigations looks like this.
( You might need a magnifying glass..)

Image

Did the banks know what they were doing when they changed the Code wording, inserted their own terms upon their funded and appointed “independent” monitoring committee to monitor the very people, who were telling them what they could monitor in the first place?

This goes further than the often cited phrase of “Police investigating Police.” This is more like a Police officer charged with a crime investigating himself, based upon his own decision as to what he’s allowed to investigate, and what constitutes as “evidence”!

The bill being put forward will end the CCMC’s reign as we know it, requiring all code breach complaints to be investigated by APRA, a government body, already set up to regulate the banking sector.

It’s not perfect, but it’s a damn sight better than having only 3 people nationwide (who are appointed by the Banks), responsible for the investigation of all consumer bank complaints. It would not only penalise the banks, both financially and legislatively, and allow APRA to name and shame, but it would provide a level of transparency not seen before in the Australian Banking System.

When Andrew Wilkie announced his bill in August this year, it took only milliseconds for the ABA to reject his suggestions that the current Banking Code of Practise and the CCMC were “toothless tigers”, and that the Banks believe the current format was fair and equitable.

The ABA also suggested that “additional layers of regulation..make it more risky and expensive to lend to small business.”

More expensive? More risky? Perhaps, but “expensive and risky” has been in the lap of the consumer for far too long due to the lack of independence and the forcing of complainants having to go through the legal system, against the banks’ army of lawyers, to get any sort of justice.

The cash rate of the Reserve Bank has been slashed constantly over the past year, allowing the borrowing costs of banks to actually go down, especially when the full rate cut is failed to be passed on. By not passing on the most recent rate cut in October 2012, the banks are making an additional $6.2million per day. This is at a time where record profits have reached $24billion between the big four in 2010-2011.

More expensive? I believe they can afford it.

You could say that the extra $6.2million per day that they are making off us, is currently being spent on the army of lawyers who are needed to fight struggling small businesses, farmers and individuals in the courts. And of course, on a constant barrage of wonderful, if not misleading and deceptive, PR and marketing initiatives.

The current state of affairs deserves no less than a Royal Commission into the corrupt, misleading and deceptive behaviour and intrusion of the banks CEO’s into a supposed Independent complaints procedure, designed to protect the majority of Australian citizens.

I am therefore asking everyone associated with Occupy around Australia, the advocacy groups, the consumer protection groups, to contact their local MP/Media outlet, to give this bill oxygen and media coverage, so that the banks can finally be held accountable for their ongoing mistreatment of the Australian public.

Katie Sheppard
Citizen journalist.
OccupySydney participant
Ph: 0416 088 981

Sources:
www.bankinfoline.com
Senate enquiry S90 – Competition in Banking – Dec 2010
www.andrewwilkie.org
http://www.news.com.au/opinion/jessica-irvine-when-winning-banks-take-all
http://www.smh.com.au/business/banks-to-pass-on-rate-cut–eventually