31,000 credit complaints since Banking Royal Commission

Wooden house, piggy bank, magnifying glass

Data reveals postcodes flooded with complaints about loans as Government plans to remove lending protections

An analysis by consumer group CHOICE has revealed over 31,000 complaints have been made about credit products since the end of the Banking Royal Commission’s hearings. The analysis comes as crossbench Senators in Federal Parliament decide on a government proposal to  roll back consumer protections.

This is a CHOICE media release, from the 16th of March, 2021.

“The banks promised they’d clean up their act after the shame of the Royal Commission hearings but over 31,000 credit complaints show there are still huge problems in the system,” says Alan Kirkland, CEO of CHOICE.

“Repealing safe lending laws is an extraordinary thing to do when many Australians are struggling in the wake of COVID-19. If passed, this will be the biggest handout to the banks we’ve seen in decades. This is a time for the Senate to do what it was created to do – temper the influence of lobbyists and make sure Australians are put first,” says Mr Kirkland.

CHOICE analysed Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) complaints data across consumer loans, credit cards and housing finance from November 2018 to December 2020. Complaints on credit products can range from irresponsible lending and charging of incorrect fees to poor customer service, fraud, and unfair terms and conditions.

Terrigal and surrounding suburbs on the Central Coast of NSW top the list with over 1000 credit product complaints. Complaints come from across the country, from Werribee in Victoria to Parramatta in NSW and even Sydney’s prestige harbour suburbs – demonstrating that bad bank behaviour affects Australians all over.

“Right now, ABS data shows that mortgage lending is at record highs. This is fuelling a housing boom that is pushing home ownership out of reach of many more Australians. Scrapping safe lending will land many people with large debts they can’t afford and take away their ability to receive justice,” says Mr Kirkland.

“This contradicts the very first recommendation of the Banking Royal Commission – to leave safe lending laws intact.” 

The repeal of safe lending laws rests in the hands of the Senate crossbench, with a vote on new laws expected this week.

Learn more about CHOICEs campaign to Save Safe Lending.