Unauthorised use of account led to $9,000 loss

Categories:
Account mandates
Summary:
Jamie complained about her bank allowing her former husband, Alex, to take out a loan in joint names and open an account in her company’s name without her permission when they were still together.

They had a home loan secured by a jointly owned property. Jamie was also sole director of a company, XYZ Ltd. Unknown to Jamie, Alex had applied for, and been granted, a $30,000 joint loan, and may have forged her signature to get it.

Jamie became unwell and Alex took over XYZ Ltd’s finances, at which point it appeared Alex had been allowed to open and operate a company account, of which Jamie was sole signatory, without her knowledge or consent.

Jamie and Alex sold their property and repaid their home loan, including the $30,000 loan. They later separated and their relationship property was divided. It was after the separation that Jamie complained.

The bank investigated Jamie’s complaint and agreed that Alex shouldn’t have been able to take out the new joint loan or open another business account without her knowledge. But it did not consider she had suffered a direct financial loss because the funds had benefited her and XYZ Ltd.

Our investigation

Jamie brought her complaint to us, and we looked at whether she had suffered loss and inconvenience because of the bank’s actions. We found that she knew about the loan by the time the property was sold and it appeared most of the surplus sale proceeds were invested in XYZ Ltd. It also appeared the $30,000 loan was taken into consideration when dividing the couple’s property. Therefore, we didn’t think Jamie had suffered a direct financial loss from Alex taking out the loan.

However, we considered she might have suffered a loss from the unauthorised opening and operation of the company account. The bank demonstrated that some of the payments made from it were legitimate business expenses, but about $9,000 was unaccounted for.

Outcome

The bank agreed to compensate Jamie for the $9,000 as direct financial loss and a further $7,500 for inconvenience and costs incurred. The case was closed on this basis.

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