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Broadcast: 10/03/97
Banks Behaving Badly
This program reveals why the banking industry has lost our trust and how some banks bend the rules and break the law. We reveal a bonus system which rewards bank officials for forcing businesses to the wall. Bank malpractices are revealed and the devastating effect that these have on the lives and businesses that are affected by them.

Reporter: Andrew Fowler
Producer: Ashley Smith
Research: Meena David

Bob Allen, Accountant: It's the biggest bit of bastardry I've ever seen in all my commercial life

Andrew Fowler:
After more than a decade of free-market deregulation Australia's banks are out of control...............


Diane Felkin, Former Advanced Bank Customer: One of the gentlemen actually said f you don't do it my way you're dead meat lady, which is a fairly, you know, put it this way I didn't miss-understand his meaning.

Andrew Fowler:
Increased competition was supposed to have kept the banks honest. But it hasn't worked.

John McLennan, Former Senior Westpac Manager:
If I took 300 million dollars from anybody and kept it for myself and was then caught out not paying it back and just said so sue me, I'd be in jail.

Andrew Fowler:
Tonight on Four Corners we ask why the banking industry has lost our trust and reveal how some banks bend the rules and break the law in their pursuit of profits.

Title: Banks Behaving Badly

Andrew Fowler: Since deregulation, we're borrowing money like never before....$211 billion last year. And the banks are reaping the rewards. The National Australia is heading for another record 2 billion dollar profit. And shareholders at the other big three - Westpac, the Commonwealth and the ANZ are also celebrating another good year. There's no secret about how the banks got back on their financial feet after the disasters of the 1980's. They made their money by high interest rates They've also cut staff to the bone and shut branches in country and suburban areas to slim down their costs and boost profits.   But the leaner banks are also meaner. A record 17,362 people were bankrupted last year, more than at the height of the last recession.

Mara Bun, Australian Consumers Association:
I think that the community at one point in time saw bankers as having a very special place in society. In fact bankers were respected, they were a source of advice and you could trust them. And I think financial sector deregulation has broken and shattered that special position of banks in society. ...............