Commonweatlth Bank defends Bankwest defaults to parliament

A PARLIAMENTARY inquiry into allegations the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) forced Bankwest borrowers into defaults has heard Bankwest "had no alternative" but to protect its financial position.

Following the purchase of Bankwest, the CBA was forced to write off about $2.8 billion in Bankwest loans in 2009.

As of December 2008, however, the CBA's provision for bad debts was in fact only $630 million.

The Commonwealth Bank's chief counsel, David Cohen, told the committee the bank called in receivers on 66 customers in the year ending December 2009 and a further 116 in the year ending December 2010.

The submission to the Joint Parliamentary Committee stated that the CBA agreed to purchase Bankwest after its owner HBOS became financially distressed during the global financial crisis.

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