A roofer has revealed he was offered a $32,000 credit card limit after telling his bank he was a problem gambler.
David Harris, 30, began gambling with money from his Commonwealth Bank credit card three years ago, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
He told the banking royal commission on Thursday that he quickly reached his $10,000 limit before getting a second and then third credit card from Commonwealth Bank.
He continued to use credit cards as he was panicking and felt the ‘only way out’ was to score a big gambling win.
David Harris, 30, began gambling with money from his Commonwealth Bank credit card three years ago
At one point Mr Harris was sent a letter telling him it would take 138 years to pay off his debt if he only made the minimum repayment, the commission heard.
By April 2016 he owed more than $27,000 and was working for weeks at a time without a day off in an attempt to cover the debt, he said.
Mr Harris said he notified the bank of a change in address in October that year, and was offered a credit-limit increase to take his credit to $32,000.
‘I said no… I explained that I’m a gambler, I have a gambling problem, they can clearly see because of the transactions I’ve been making. I don’t understand why they keep offering me more money,’ he said.
He then received a letter 11 days later offering him a credit increase, the commission heard.
In January, Mr Harris accepted the increase and maxed out the car within a month.
He paid off the card a few weeks later by borrowing $35,000 from his boss, who went with him to a branch to close the account.
Mr Harris said he was told at the branch he had to call and cancel the account, but then when he called was told to go to a branch.
He cut up his card, but months later applied for a replacement and racked up another $30,000 debt.
‘Two of the hardest things you can do when suffering from an addiction is, one, admitting you’ve got a problem, and two, reaching out for help,’ Mr Harris said.
‘And in that phone call to the Commonwealth I tried to do both. I tried to reach out for help and I didn’t get any, I got the opposite.’
Commonwealth Bank general manager of retail products Clive van Horen said the bank had put in new rules governing credit card offers
Commonwealth Bank general manager of retail products Clive van Horen said the bank had put in new rules governing credit card offers.
He admitted there was not a system for sharing ‘self-disclosed’ issues from phone calls with customers.
‘It’s clearly something we need to do,’ he said.
Mr van Horen denied it was in Commonwealth Bank’s interests for customers to make the minimum payments on credit cards.
‘It’s not in our interests to have customers who are in a position of financial difficulty,’ he said.
Mr van Horen denied it was in Commonwealth Bank’s interests for customers to make the minimum payments on credit cards