How where you work can stop you getting a loan

BANK of Queensland is refusing to lend money to prospective homeowners who work in gun shops - and sell to farmers and sporting shooters - declaring that, like prostitution, it could be associated with criminal enterprise.

The controversial position taken by the bank - in a state that relies heavily on agriculture - means previous BOQ customers who successfully paid off loans are being rejected for new finance because of where they now work, including those at firearms retailers.

When questioned about why BOQ would not lend to people who worked in the legal and the highly regulated gun and ammunition sector, a spokeswoman for the bank initially doubled down.

"BOQ regularly reviews its risk appetite and business policies," she said.

"A number of industries have been identified that fall outside BOQ's risk appetite, which include online gambling, arms manufacturers, adult entertainment and businesses with unusual transaction activity, or that are frequently associated with criminal organisations.

"Being a small bank, we cannot lend to everyone and need to prudently manage our risk settings."

But after The Courier-Mail sought comment from politicians, within 12 hours BOQ changed its statement to say it would review its position.

"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," the statement read.

It is understood BOQ may now reach out to those rejected.

Senator Bridget McKenzie at Canberra International Clay Target Club
Senator Bridget McKenzie at Canberra International Clay Target Club

Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie yesterday wrote to new BOQ chief executive officer George Frazis urging him to change the policy.

"This move by the Bank of Queensland is a kick in the guts to the more than a million Australian law-abiding firearm owners and their families, and especially Queenslanders," she said. "We need more banks that back jobs and small business and do less virtue signalling from head office."

Under the policy, Kennedy MP Bob Katter's son-in-law Robert Noia - who runs the country's largest private supplier of small arms to law enforcement and the military - would not be able to secure a BOQ home loan. Mr Katter yesterday blasted the bank.

"That would be a position I'd expect from an out-of-control fleabag bank," he said.

"Not all the bankers, but a significant number of people involved in banking in Australia are despised by the people of Australia, and this sort of posturing arrogance is just another manifestation of how they treat the banking public and there are some serious questions that need to be asked about this bank.

Bob Katter addressing pro gun rally in Queensland in 1996.
Bob Katter addressing pro gun rally in Queensland in 1996.

"The Bank of Queensland? The fleabag bank of CBD Brisbane would be more accurate. They are so intellectually deficient that they can't get their head around the paradigm outside their lilypad leftie credentials."