Commonwealth Bank Statement to ABC Television - 4 Corners Program

21 April 2003

On the 4 Corners program televised on 21 April 2003, a story was aired relating to the lending practices of major banks.  The Commonwealth Bank provided the following statement to the Program:

We refer to your telephone call and subsequent facsimile seeking information from the Commonwealth Bank relating to the Bank’s lending practices, and also inviting a Bank representative to appear on your program.

As you are aware, the Bank is currently defending, and will continue to vigorously defend, its position in the proceeding brought by the ACCC concerning Mr & Mrs Gleeson.  As that matter is currently before the Court, with the evidence incomplete, it would not be appropriate for the Bank to take part in an interview concerning the Bank's dealings with Mr and Mrs Gleeson or indeed with any other borrowers.  Hence, the Bank is unable to accept your invitation to appear on your program.  However, the Bank is happy to provide you with the following statements in relation to the two areas raised by you:

Seminar marketing
The Commonwealth Bank has never played any significant role in financing the purchase of properties generated by seminar marketing.  This fact has been confirmed in evidence adduced in the proceedings between the ACCC and the Bank.  Moreover, in those proceedings, the ACCC has not suggested that the Bank was a participant or otherwise knowingly concerned in Seminar marketing.

Should your program deal with the specific case of the Gleesons, the Bank expects that your story will reasonably and fairly report the relevant issues in a manner consistent with the evidence given to date.  Should it not, the Bank reserves all of its rights to take appropriate action.  In this regard the Bank suggests you would be well advised to read the transcript of the evidence relating to the Gleesons which has been given in the proceedings.  For your information, I enclose copies of two reports by the Courier Mail relating to some of this evidence.

Investment Property purchase and rebate
For reasons of customer confidentiality, the Bank is not prepared to disclose information concerning its customers or any information on mortgages that it has provided.  However, by way of general comment, you should note that the Bank’s approach to lending is to focus on the client's capacity to repay. Its record of home lending affirms this.  Security is a backstop and is taken so that if for some reason a client is unable to make the repayments, the loan can still be repaid.