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Significant class action viable against BankWest

Significant class action viable against BankWest

(13 April 2012 – Australia) A class action suit may be launched by law firm Slater & Gordon on behalf of some former BankWest customers over the Commonwealth Bank (CBA)'s takeover of the West Australian lender. Slater & Gordon lawyer Van Moulis said the law firm and litigation funder IMF Australia were assessing if a class action was viable after claims some BankWest borrowers and mortgagers were disadvantaged after it was taken over by the CBA in 2008.

"We are looking at whether some of those people with BankWest loans were hard done by when BankWest re-valued their securities and called up their loans in the period after CBA took control of BankWest,'' Moulis said in a statement.

"So far we have had about 120 people register with us, and their losses are quite significant.

"The types of cases we are looking at are primarily commercial developments and involve property developers and small to medium-sized business owners.''

Moulis said that Slater & Gordon's investigation was still in its formative stages and evidence was still being gathered.

No deadline has been set as to when the class action would start, if it were to proceed.

In a prepared statement, BankWest said it strongly rejected any accusations of wrongdoing.

"BankWest has acted fairly with all its customers since its acquisition by the CBA and honoured all of the existing contractual and credit commitments with customers,'' it said.

"The bank does not gain anything financially when receivers are appointed, so the suggestion that BankWest forced customers into receivership is absurd.

"When our customers do sometimes face financial difficulties, our over-riding priority is to work closely with them on an individual basis to try and assist them wherever possible.''
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