ANZ not fair or ethical in Qld farmer case

Megan Neil
The ANZ bank is under scrutiny at the banking royal commission over its Landmark acquisition

The ANZ bank admits it did not act ethically or fairly in the high-profile case of a Queensland farmer.

A significant number of former Landmark customers felt they were treated unfairly by ANZ after the bank bought the Landmark Financial Services loan book in 2010.

Grazier Charlie Phillott and his son took their story to the media after being forced off their Carisbrooke Station in north central Queensland and the bank apologised and returned control of the farm to the family.

ANZ executive Ben Steinberg told the banking royal commission the bank's conduct fell below community standards and expectations.

It also admitted it failed to work with the customers to overcome their financial difficulties, as required under the banking code of practice.

"We issued a notice on our customer effectively terminating the facilities and requesting repayment of them," Mr Steinberg told a Brisbane hearing on Tuesday.

Mr Steinberg said the bank did not work constructively with Charles Phillott Junior after the Landmark acquisition to solve the issues.

ANZ's head of lending services for corporate and commercial said the bank did not act fairly and reasonably.

"There was a history of requesting debt repayment over a period of time," he said.

"I think the dealings were consistent but I think they weren't fair and they weren't reasonable."

Asked by commissioner Kenneth Hayne QC if the bank acted in an ethical manner, Mr Steinberg said: "I think's it's fair to say we didn't."

The response was met with applause from members of the public outside the hearing room.