Gympie firearms workers' discrimination claim prompts BoQ rethink.
Gympie firearms workers' discrimination claim prompts BoQ rethink. Contributed

Farmers, shooters compared to crims in bank policy stuff-up

THE Bank of Queensland has promised to review its lending policies after a Gympie district firearms worker complained he had been denied a loan because of his work.

In a policy which appears to link farmers and sporting shooters with organised crime, the bank has admitted refusing to lend money to prospective home owners who work in gun shops, on the grounds of a possible association with criminal enterprise.

Gympie gun advocate and dealer Ron Owen said he had thought anti-discrimination laws would prevent people being treated like the man who had complained to him. Mr Owen said the man did not work for him but for another nearby dealer.

The Bank of Queensland's Gympie branch had not made the decision to reject the man's application, a spokeswoman said yesterday.

But the bank's head office announced a review of the relevant policy.


Ron Owen the owner of Owens Guns in Gympie.
Ron Owen. Renee Albrecht

The Bank of Queensland yesterday announced an overhaul of its "risk appetite" policies after admitting it had refused a loan to a Gympie district man on the basis of lawful employment in the gun industry.

BOQ Group head of corporate affairs Tracy Hicks said the bank had identified "industries that fall outside its risk appetite," including industries offering secure and lawful employment.

"Like all banks, BOQ has identified industries that fall outside its risk appetite," she said. "These include online gambling, arms manufacturers, adult entertainment and businesses with unusual transaction activity.

"However, BOQ is currently undertaking a review of its risk appetite, to ensure we are able to offer our services to employees of all legalised industries in Australia," she said.

The Courier-Mail reported yesterday the bank had initially claimed it was a small organisation which could not lend to everyone and needed to "prudently manage our risk settings".

But the paper reported the bank had reconsidered its position within 12 hours of political involvement, including by federal Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie and North Queensland independent MP Bob Katter.