The ANZ Bank has a moral obligation to fully compensate farmers after the High Court today declared it breached the Fair Trading Act by misleadingly representing interest rate swap loans, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.
The Commerce Commission confirmed earlier this month the likelihood of successful prosecution against the ANZ for its mis-selling of swap loans to farmers.
“But the Commission decided not to proceed with the case and instead opted to take $500,000 from the bank for itself and agree to a $25 million settlement on behalf of the 250 aggrieved farmers who officially complained.
“Unfortunately the 2250 farmers – who did not provide their information to the Commission over the sale of more than $8 billion worth of loans from the ANZ and three other banks – received no compensation.
“The Commission added insult to injury by stating that any farmers who still had issues over the loans with their banks could still seek recompense.
“The watchdog’s statement to the High Court that the banks did not intend to mislead shows its naivety and incompetence.
“These are very sophisticated financial products that have been deemed inappropriate for small business and farmers, a position backed by Rabobank who refused to sell them to farmer clients.
“This is a saga of exploitation of hard working and trusting farmers who wanted to grow their business not their exposure to smart-arse corporate bankers,” Damien O’Connor says.