Jones Letter to CBA Noting its Hypocrisy concerning Dwyer
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As tragic and unjust as bank fraud is and the number of people who have suffered at the hands of corrupt banking institutions and a corrupt government, the stakes are still higher and will affect even more Australians causing even more suffering. The bank frauds that have been an endemic plague for nearly a generation or more have been directed at small businesses and family farmers so that corporations and the corporate state can obtain total control of the people. Too many family farmers would make difficult the corporatization of the food and fiber industry. Before the Australian government can take control of water. food and fiber they must whittle down the number of privately held farms and businesses. Bank Fraud has been their weapon of choice against free enterprise and freedom. Tested on Australians, the project can be readily expanded to the rest of the world."
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THE UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY
B R Watson
30 April 2007
Dear Mr. Watson
There has been recent correspondence between the Commonwealth Bank and a sometime customer, Mr Geoffrey Dwyer. In particular, a letter under your name dated 3 April has been sent to Geoff Dwyer, which Dwyer has passed on to me as an interested party.
I feel obliged to comment on the sentence ‘You are aware that the allegations raised in your letters were heard and dealt with in the Supreme Court of New South Wales and the Court of Appeal.’
Before the Dwyer v Commonwealth Bank of Australia affair (and the entire foreign currency loan saga) disappears into history, it is important to outline some truths for the benefit of your ill-informed generation.
In the wholly novel environment thrown up by financial deregulation, with threatened enhanced competition and an official restraint on lending quantum from domestic sources, the CBA threw itself into the aggressive marketing of foreign currency loans to the financially unsophisticated small business sector. The CBA, along with Westpac and the ANZ (the NAB’s then CEO recognising immediately the built-in potential for disaster), jumped in at the deep end without the requisite knowledge, personnel skills, or facilities.
The madness of this venture is encapsulated in a minute (dated 17 January 1986) by Westpac executive F. A. Ward, General Manager Credit Policy & Control, in which he comments on a report on the situation: ‘This document encapsulates the whole dilemma with this product, it was the only product marketed within the Banking system where neither the Bank nor the borrower had control over the principal.’ Madness indeed.
Rather than show remorse and accountability for its culpability in the debacle, the Bank, under the supervision of in-house counsel Les Taylor, instigated a strategy to have responsibility placed entirely on the hapless borrowers’ shoulders. The culpability of the Bank is transparent in the ‘leave to appeal’ judgment in the full Federal Court re Quade v CBA ( N G734 1989). This judgment is compulsory reading for the whole saga (as is Thannhauser v Westpac, Q G29 1989). In Quade the implications of the ‘G’ documents that the Bank declined to discover were laid out by Justices Burchett and Einfeld (some of the minute handful of presiding judges to have actually performed their job and read bank-discovered documents in foreign currency litigation). There the Bank (and by implication its counsel Sackar) is subject to sober but systematic condemnation. Absence of requisite skills, absence of necessary facilities, preference for self-interest and thus absence of accountability – all are transparent in Bank staff’s own words.
A mere several months later and the Bank is back in court re Dwyer, and its strategy through its attack dog Sackar (the legal profession lacks the ethical equivalent of the Hippocratic Oath) is to ignore completely the condemnation handed down in Quade and its implications.
My extended Working Paper on the Dwyer case (December 2005), to which you have been privy, dissects forensically the Dwyer v CBA litigation. The ‘allegations’ raised in Dwyer’s correspondence with the Bank merely reproduce the salient features of the G documents and which are confirmed in Quade. Dwyer’s ‘allegations’ state the facts. These matters are systematically excluded from the Dwyer court cases. The essence of the strategy of the Bank (as with all other FCL cases), through Sackar, was to place entire responsibility on Dwyer for the tragedy to which he and his family were subsequently exposed. The indifferent Acting Judge produced an off-the-cuff judgment that appears to have been essentially based on the notes handed up to the bench by the Bank after the conclusion of the hearing. The Dwyer judgment was a joke and a disgrace. The Appeal judges restricted themselves to technicalities, the narrow parameters having already been set in the Trial Court.
Einfeld J, in Quade, also brings in the matter of trust. The credit instrument places the small-scale borrower, in a dependent relationship with the lender. The structural subordination is encased in the wording of the securities. The asymmetric power that the lender acquires is presumed to be constrained by the professional integrity of the staff and the reputation of the institution itself. As for Quade, so for Dwyer. The Bank leveraged its reputation in building its foreign currency loan portfolio in this transparently dangerous arena. In the process of the instrument’s development and of its denouement, the staff debauched their integrity and abused the Bank’s reputation (the ‘People’s Bank’).
The passage of time has brought a new generation to the Bank’s senior management. I would have hoped that the new guard would have thought it appropriate to clean out the closet and effect a reconciliation for past sins. Not so. The new guard at the other banks have adopted the same pose. Business ethics, it appears, remains an oxymoron in the Australian finance sector.
(Dr) Evan Jones
REAL Freedom Library
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