Business

Banks cost us $800k

Steve Murphy, seen with wife Larissa, has joined a potential class action against the Commonwealth Bank.
Steve Murphy, seen with wife Larissa, has joined a potential class action against the Commonwealth Bank. Contributed

IT'S the potential "David versus Goliath" law suit that could restore accountability in banking practices nationwide.

Two Sunshine Coast businessmen are part of a possible class action against Bankwest and its owner, the Commonwealth Bank.

David Leslie and Steve Murphy say the banks' "unconscionable" treatment of them nearly sent them to the wall.

They lost "about $800,000" because of the way Bankwest changed its business dealings after it was taken over by the Commonwealth Bank in 2008.

The duo had been clients of Bankwest for about five years and had obtained finance to expand their childcare business nationwide and develop the Bli Bli shopping centre site.

They were employing 70 people and had visions of expanding their business to "employ about 500 people".

"Bankwest is the major reason this didn't go ahead," Mr Murphy said.

They say the Commonwealth has instructed Bankwest to lose or reduce some of its small to medium business loans, such as theirs.

Their views are shared by about 200 other disgruntled Bankwest clients, many of whom may be represented by IMF Australia in a potential class action.

Bankwest has strongly denied any wrongdoing.

Bankwest and the Commonwealth Bank's actions also could be the subject of a Senate Inquiry after a handful of former clients lobbied senators in Canberra this week.

Port Macquarie builder Geoff Shannon is the force behind this.

He started a website and lobby group, Unhappy bankers, to unite affected clients to "put a stop to the bastard bank".

Mr Shannon has been in close contact with the Sunshine Coast businessmen and said their case was a classic example of the banks' heartless action.

He said a Senate inquiry would reveal "the biggest fraud in Australian banking history".

"It will be a test case," he said.

"This will make banks account

able for the actions. It's a David versus Goliath battle and we won't be deterred."

Mr Leslie and Mr Murphy have compiled a dossier of 11 actions by Bankwest they deemed were "unconscionable" to send to Nationals Senator John Williams.

These include Bankwest financing approval for a loan for a third childcare centre and then pulling out two weeks before it settled, leaving them with a risk of losing their $190,000 deposit.

They say Bankwest "took $70,000 out of our account for penalty interest" and pushed rates up across the board by about 2.5% separate to what the Reserve Bank was doing at the time.

"We lost about $800,000 through that time," Mr Murphy said.

"We had to sell the (Bli Bli) shopping centre for less than we wanted to reduce debt, we had to split our business and sell off assets we didn't want to sell."

Topics:  bankwest, commonwealth bank, david leslie




Is this the start of our Rural Renaissance?

Exports to the US have dropped 40%, China 30% and Japan 10%. China and Saudi Arabia have once more open their doors to Brazilian beef while Indonesia is now looking to Indian buffalo meat to boost its supplies

Rising prices the talk of the town as rain raises farmers’ spirits

Lismore picked to host world-class daredevil show in 2017

Oakes Oval in Lismore will host the sell-out, worldwide phenomenon that is Nitro Circus Live during its 15-city Australian tour in April.

Big boost to local business and big news for BMX fans

Do you think you have the cutest baby on the Northern Rivers?

Dad Tim Sherwin with his 3 year old son Levi Sherwin, who has been entered in the Baby Show.

Comp judges cutest baby, happiest baby and baby with longest lashes

Latest deals and offers

Tom Hiddleston's Instagram account hacked

Actor Tom Hiddleston

Thor star the latest celebrity targetted by hackers

Charlize Theron's son dresses up as Frozen character

Actor Charlize Theron

Star's son spotted dressed a beloved Frozen character

BOOKS: Food for thought in Caroline Beecham's latest novel

Maggie's Kitchen by Caroline Beecham is published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99.

New novel reminds readers that bravery exists in many forms

TELEVISION: New show is a Survivor, for now

Jonathan LaPaglia hosts the TV series Australian Survivor.

WHAT happens when a new show with a big budget flops?

Rachel Weisz understands celebrity gossip fascination

Actor Rachel Weisz

Weisz says mystery is good for an actor

Gina Rodriguez relished dramatic change for new film

Jane the Virgin lead Gina Rodriguez

TV star shaved her hair for movie role

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m