Response to 60 Minutes
21 February 2016
At the Commonwealth Bank, we are committed to securing the financial wellbeing of the communities where we operate and one key aspect of this is to ensure we act as a responsible lender.
There is no incentive for any bank to lend money to a customer who we do not believe can make repayments.
We recognise that among the millions of customers who take loans with us there can be instances where they fall into difficult financial circumstances that neither we nor them could be expected to foresee. When this happens, it is very upsetting and stressful which is why we always encourage customers to speak with us early and to access our comprehensive arrangements for hardship.
In both cases referenced, we have kept the lines of communication open and in the case of the Moloneys we have been in discussions since late 2014. Both the Moloneys and the James’ have had the opportunity to take their concerns for independent review by the Financial Ombudsman Service whose findings have confirmed our lending practices were appropriate.
This week we have been in touch with both the Moloneys and the James’ to organise a meeting with a specialist from our Customer Assist team. We are committed to better understanding their full circumstances, particularly where we may not be their main banking partner. As part of our discussions we are seeking to explore all options including how we can help them stay in the home in which they live as we work through their particular circumstances.
As Australia transitions from the mining boom, we know there are towns that are experiencing worsening economic conditions however, the vast majority of our customers continue to meet their home loan repayments.