A bank with about $670 billion in total assets will pay a multi-million-dollar fine after admitting to misleading credit card customers for years.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) says Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) has agreed to pay $15 million AUD, worth about $9.65 million, after the country’s Federal Court found that the lender violated the ASIC Act and the National Consumer Credit Protection Act.
According to the ASIC, ANZ falsely indicated to customers that they could get cash advances from their “Available Funds” without getting hit with fees and interest.
Instead of displaying accurate information, the court found that ANZ showed a larger amount than what was actually available for withdrawal, leading customers to believe that they could take cash advances that are free from fees and interest from their “Available Funds.”
The ASIC says ANZ wrongfully charged over 186,000 accounts with fees and interest associated with cash advances. There were also some instances where an individual was charged thousands of Australian dollars in fees for availing the lender’s service.
The court also found that ANZ failed to act “efficiently, honestly and fairly” by not coming up with timely measures to remedy the issue.
Says ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court,
“Customers deserve 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…
These are errors that we expect a bank to be aware of and fix in a timely manner. It should not have taken ANZ several years to address this issue.”
On top of the $15 million AUD fine, ANZ is also providing remediation payments worth $8.3 million AUD, or about $5.34 million, to customers who received interest and charges for their cash advances between May 2016 and November 2018.Don't Miss a Beat – Subscribe to get email alerts delivered directly to your inbox
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