Today the first bank customer witness took the stand at the Royal Commission. Robert Regan, a 72 year old widower from Victoria, took out a home loan with the ANZ through a broker in 2017 following the death of his wife.
Mr Regan, who lives with an acquired brain injury, borrowed the money after being targeted by an online romance scam. Mr Regan fell into severe financial hardship shortly after being signed up to the loan by ANZ, having to seek assistance from charities for food and groceries.
Mr Regan gave evidence to the Commission about:
- incorrect information provided by the broker to ANZ about his financial situation, particularly his expenses
- ANZ’s failure to respond to clear anomalies in his bank accounts indicating large overseas transactions
- an ANZ bank manager assisting him to transfer over $30,000 to the scammer’s bank account in the UK
- ANZ’s failure to provide appropriate hardship assistance to him after he told them his financial struggles
- the impact of the scam and the behaviour of ANZ and the broker on his life and family.ANZ’s offer to Robert’s lawyers resolve the dispute which stated that Mr Regan would remain liable for the loan but that fees and interest would be reversed, future fees and interest would be stopped, the monthly payments would be reduced and ANZ would apply a goodwill credit of $1,500 (among other term).
Mr Regan and Consumer Action Law Centre are available for comment.
It is expected the Royal Commission will shortly publish a transcript of the hearing and release Mr Regan’s witness statement in the coming days.