Bank Politics

Reporter: Natalie Bonjolo

Across the country, angry bank customers wanting a voice may have found one. Adrian Bradley is a former BankWest spin doctor who's turning the tables taking on our major banks with people power. "If we can get enough people to say yes, we want you to make our banks fair and accountable we can make a party and if enough Australians say get to Canberra and fix this up, we can do it" They're called the Bank Reform Party-- with their sights firmly set, on the big four. "We can examine bringing in more competition throwing the field open for possibly foreign banks, more support for non-bank lenders, but more importantly these four pillars is this relevant today, is it helping competition"

"The big four banks have 80% of the market" Matthew Levey of Choice agrees customers are crying out for more competition. "One of the consistent things we find in our choice surveys is while many big 4 customers may be unhappy, they're not making plans to switch, that shows us they think there is not better deals out there"

"Banks are too big for their boots" Rosie Cornell is one of four hundred Australians, to already join our nation's newest political party hopefuls. "There is no one keeping an eye on them" Locked in a bitter battle with her bank, Rosie has her own website called "I hate the NAB.com" After the National Australia Bank approved a million dollar loan for a farm, Rosie fell behind in payments, and eventually lost everything. NAB won the case in court but Rosie believes Banks need to be made more accountable for their decisions.

A successful developer, John Hollioake, planned to build a residential and commercial complex on this property in Perth, backed by BankWest. "We had a loan approved registered ready to go ready to sign" but despite Bankwest granting approval for the multimillion dollar loan, the money never came then when bankwest was bought by The Commonwealth, all the doors closed in John's face. "By the time it became obvious to me i wasn't going to get the loan, I had nothing left, it had all been pumped into a dead hole"

John's company, which he owned, with his famous international cricketer son Adam Hollioake, went belly up.

He's not the only business to be fed to the wolves along with hundreds of others John joined "unhappy banking", a website devoted to fighting back. Adrian says "as we developed this unhappy banking platform we got more and more people with this very similar complaint" "unhappy banking's" members took things one step further - forming their own political party.

"I don't think Australians are secure with their banks at all, I'm seeing severe mortgage stress I'm seeing businesses getting foreclosed, I'm seeing people complaining about hidden charges fees, I'm seeing people complaining about their banks" A former insider, he believes many customers complaints are legitimate. Since leaving Bankwest, Adrian is now suing his former employer for wrongful dismissal. "They might dismiss Adrian Bradley as sour grapes but if we get a political party up with x number of members into the senate, that's going to be very hard to dismiss"

The Australian Banker's Association tell us they'll wait to comment until the party is registered and has some fully formed policies. Bankwest say they respect the Political system and the opportunity it gives people to have a voice.The question is, if the major political parties are powerless to reform our banks, what hope do a group of disgruntled customers have. Come next election the bank reform party, will be banking on the groundswell of customer discontent, to get them across the line.

Bank Reform Party website

www.bankreformparty.com