Banks Control of Evidence
One of the primary reasons a Royal Commission or Commission of Inquiry is required into the Australian banking sector, is the need to remove the control of evidence from the banks.
All inquiries considering allegations of banking misconduct to date have relied upon banks controlling what documentary evidence, written submissions and oral testimony from bank officers or senior executives is provided.
Thus, banking regulation and consumer redress frameworks in Australia rely heavily upon the honesty and integrity of bank boards, senior executives, law firms and other relevant parties who give or provide evidence on behalf of banks. In most cases, a bank’s evidence is preferred over that of victims.
Based upon the default community expectations that banks will act with the utmost integrity and trust, there is a cognitive bias that banks simply would not provide false evidence within the regulatory, investigative or consumer redress framework.
Banks Giving False Evidence
Research shows that, despite community expectations to the contrary, banks have been engaging in the use of false and misleading evidence to regulators, before the court system and during federal government inquiries.
Evidence of such bank conduct includes:
- Systemic deficient discovery – banks ‘losing’ customer paper files and emails
- False evidence in Senate and Parliamentary Joint Committee hearings
- False affidavits
- Forged documents and signatures
- Misleading through omission of material facts
This conduct is simply unacceptable from any party, let alone a bank.
Bank victims often speak of their extreme frustration when the system fails to act, even in cases where it is patently clear that the bank has acted dishonestly.
Impact of False Evidence from Banks
This causes victims of systemic banking misconduct to be further negatively impacted. When banks are not held accountable for their misconduct, denying victims appropriate redress and restitution, affected customers are left feeling that the system has also let them down.
Customers can spend 5-10 years and many millions of dollars fighting a bank. When these customers have legitimate cases against a bank but lose due to unconscionable tactics adopted by banks, the financial loss, emotional harm and sense of injustice is exponentially compounded.
A Royal Commission or Commission of Inquiry is required, including terms of reference to review bank conduct before the courts.