- 'Banks given a blank cheque to take me through every court in the land'
- By John Collett
- Contributed by: Sime ( 14 articles in 2018 )
Mike Wilcox was a victim of predatory lending
Mike Wilcox, a 74-year-old solicitor who had his own legal practice but lost his house after his bank called-in his loan, says banks "feel invincible" and need greater penalties for abusing their power.
"It [the interim report] makes some strong comments about culture and greed, but I wonder if they are really coming to grips with the problem," he says.
"If you can get up to 15 years for recklessly tampering with strawberries, why can't there be some sort of similar penalty for recklessly abusing their power," Wilcox says
"There's no repercussion, so they feel invincible."
The lending manager at the bank who organised Wilcox's mortgage in 1994 was later found guilty of fraud.
The bank falsely believed that Wilcox was involved in the fraud and despite an investigation by the police and the NSW Law Society, which both found him both innocent, the bank still wanted to call-in the loan on his house.
Wilcox was a loyal customer who never missed a repayment.
"The banks simply have too much power against individuals", he says.
The key issue in his case was the abuse the power, he says. "The bank's lawyers said to me the bank would give them a blank cheque to take me through every court in the land, including to the High Court, until they got my house or I went bankrupt," he says.
He thinks there should be a new division of the Federal Court dealing with complaints against the banks in a speedy and inexpensive way, similar to small claims tribunal.