Commonwealth Bank offered credit card increases to problem gambler

The Commonwealth Bank has admitted to offering repeated credit card limit increases to a customer who was begging them to stop because he had a gambling addiction and a $30,000 debt.

David Harris, a qualified roof tiler, broke down in tears on Thursday at the financial services royal commission when he described his experience with CBA and his fruitless attempts to get help.

He told the commissioner, Kenneth Hayne, that he had started gambling seriously with his first CBA credit card in 2015, and within a year he had obtained two more credit cards with CBA as his losses increased.

His first card had a $10,000 limit, his second a $7,000 limit, and his third a $8,000 limit.

Roughly a month after he opened the third account, he said, CBA had sent a letter to his house offering to increase the limit on his first card from $10,000 to $12,100, which he accepted. It took his aggregate credit limit to $27,100.

He then consistently maxed out all three cards as he chased his losses and tried to win enough to pay down his debts, but he never came close. “It was a ridiculously large amount of money for someone who was earning my wage,” he said.

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