CBA has always rejected allegations it engineered customer defaults to reduce the price it paid for Bankwest, an issue raised during parliamentary inquiries and court cases.
Some former Bankwest customers will give evidence during the royal commission’s two-week public hearing about small business lending that began in Melbourne on Monday.
But senior counsel assisting the commission Michael Hodge QC said none of the ulterior motive theories about
The banking royal commission has rejected claims the Commonwealth Bank had an ulterior motive to systematically default business loans after it bought Bankwest a decade ago.
Australia’s largest bank faces another grilling about its actions after the $2.1 billion acquisition of Bankwest in 2008, at the height of the global financial crisis.
But the financial services royal commission will not delve into long-held theories suggesting CBA had some ulterior motive when it defaulted a number of commercial loans.
CBA’s dealings with the Bankwest loan book warranted further consideration.
“In summary, we have not seen any primary evidence from primary sources that support these ulterior motive theories, and their logic appears to be premised on misconceptions of the facts,” he said.
Mr Hodge said the common element of the theories was that CBA had an ulterior motive to systematically default loans, regardless of the perceived risk of a particular loan or industry.
One allegation was that CBA deliberately impaired some loans because of a clawback provision in the sale agreement with UK bank HBOS, which the royal commission and small business ombudsman both dismissed as incorrect.
Mr Hodge said one issue with the various theories was that they avoided grappling with the risk presented by a particular borrower or industry.
A number of former Bankwest customers have approached the royal commission about how they were treated after the CBA takeover.
The royal commission has now received more than 5500 public submissions through its website, a big increase on the 1850 at the time its public hearings began in February.
More than 2000 of the additional submissions have been received since its last hearing in mid-April, amid revelations of customers being charged fees for financial advice they never received.
More than 600 submissions have raised issues about small business lending.
Lending to farmers will be part of a later hearing.This article was first published by https://thewest.com.au/