ANZ has been ordered to pay a $15 million penalty after admitting to misleading more than 186,000 customers over fees and interest charged.
ANZ has been ordered to pay a $15 million penalty after admitting to misleading more than 186,000 customers over fees and interest charged on credit card accounts.
The Federal Court ordered the big four bank to pay a $15 million fine after falsely indicating that customers could obtain a cash advance without incurring fees and interest.
The court was told that ANZ had not cleared deposits into credit card accounts that resulted in the ‘available funds’ being incorrect and larger than what was available, according to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.
The corporate watchdog said ANZ customers who obtained a cash advance based on the incorrect ‘available funds’ figure were hit with thousands of dollars’ worth of fees and interest in some cases.
The bank has already paid remediation of about $45 to more than 186,000 accounts, totaling more than $8.3 million, to affected customers between May 2016 and November 2018.
But ANZ has agreed to pay further remediation to repay customers alongside the $15 million penalty.
In a statement, ANZ said it accepts responsibility for what has occurred and apologises to its customers, and has addressed the issues that gave rise to the contraventions.
ASIC deputy chair Sarah Court said customers deserved clear and accurate information about available funds in their accounts and what fees and charges may be applied.
“Many ANZ customers relied on the account information displayed by the bank and were charged fees that were inconsistent with that information,” she said.
The corporate watchdog said the court also found that ANZ did not act efficiently, honestly and fairly by failing to take timely action to address the problem.
“These are errors that we expect a bank to be aware of and fix in a timely manner,” Ms Court said.
“It should not have taken ANZ several years to address this issue.
‘ASIC will continue to take action against banks who fail in their duty to act efficiently, honestly and fairly in dealings with customers.”