The Bank of Queensland (BOQ) is facing legal action from two Victorian franchisees over allegations senior management pushed them out of business by obstructing loan requests and declining customers, Fairfax Media reports.
The claims also extend to harassment from senior bank executives and several other franchisees are believed to be weighing their options on joining the suit amid fears head office is trying to bring more branches back under central control.
The two branches at the centre of the suit, Geelong West and Hawthorn, had allegedly fallen well short of the business activity promised to them by BoQ, Fairfax said, with the Geelong West branch writing $4 million in 40 months and Hawthorn, $4m in 22 months. It was expected they would write $4m a month.
Both franchisees claim that after BoQ placed a clause in their contracts that could see the bank unilaterally reduce the owner-managers' income to zero, head office started to undermine their competitiveness with loan approvals falling and trailing commissions being cut.