SUBMISSION TO SENATE INQUIRY

Sub. 29.    May 2012

Dear Senators,

Please find attached my submission that relates to how my business was treated by Bankwest.

My business was a family business in the small country town of Forbes in NSW. It was created by my grandfather in 1913, which would of made it 100 years old next year.

We were a Painting Contracting company. In 1999 we won a contract to maintain a lot of public schools in western NSW. This was the break we had worked hard for. Within 5 years we went from 5 workers to about 70 workers. This enabled us to tender for other contracts in other areas and in the 5 year period we worked across NSW for such companies as NRMA,TARGET and TRANSFIELD and as well as painting we also started to do building maintenance and insurance works. Life was good.

 

We were with the Commonwealth bank with our manager based in Orange, NSW.

 

 

The manager, as far as we can tell, was headhunted by Bankwest, and was employed by them. He approached us to move over to Bankwest and, sadly, we did.

 Our business, the last year we traded, turned over close to $12,000,000.00 so these loans were easy to service. In about 2005 my wife and I separated. This was a very hard time for me. About 6 months later my wife decided to resign as a director of the business, and even though she still worked in the business, she thought it was the right thing to do as it was a family business for a long time and we were getting divorced.

The manager from Orange turned up, and in front of about 6 people, including family and a few employees, said the bank was nervous that my wife had resigned as a director and felt “exposed”. He said the bank wanted us to go into VA for “a couple of months” so they could sort stuff out. My wife offered to go back as a director to make them feel better but he declined saying this was a better way.

Once I signed the VA, the next day 2 men from RSM birdcameron in Sydney,turned up and told us to close the doors straight away as Bankwest had put us into receivership. We were the biggest employer in Forbes...

I rang the manager from Bankwest in Orange about what was going on and he wiped his hands of me. He told me to ring a manager in Sydney. (Mr H).

When he finally returned my call he told me he was going to teach me a lesson for not using Taylor Woodings (who had previously told me they had Mr. H “under control”).

After 11 months of fighting I had had enough. On the day my mother was buried, I received a call from Bankwest in Perth telling me they were coming in to take my home the next day and everything else I owned. I received this call at the wake!..

They also had ownership of my company and when I last saw the books there was $1,000,000.00 owing to the company for works done so I suppose they got that too. So for a $750,000.00 loan, they got all their money plus what was owed to the company($1,000,000.00) plus a heap of plant and equipment.

The impact Bankwest has had has been enormous.

To start, 60 people out of work in a small country town, in the middle of the very bad drought.

Many had to leave town to get work and have never returned.

I and some of my family and ex-employees have depression.

A hundred year old company ruined. I don’t think anyone will ever know how much pain they have caused.  I have lost everything, house, business and worst of all my family.

The bank could of easily given me a payout figure 3 days after they put receivers in, but I suspect they always had other things in mind with all my assets.