Banks

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The Centre for Women’s Economic Safety (CWES) welcomes the establishment of aParliamentary Inquiry into the effectiveness of financial services regulation in addressing financialabuse.The move follows calls by CWES for regulatory change so the financial sector can better respond tofinancial abuse and design safer financial products.More than 85% of women experiencing domestic and family violence experience…

Read More CWES Statement on the Inquiry into Financial Abuse by the Parliamentary Joint Committee

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Original media release by and for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (14/03/2024). The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) have published new information to help banks, insurers and superannuation trustees prepare for the commencement of the Financial Accountability Regime (FAR). The FAR, which takes effect for banks…

Read More Industry Information Package Released in Preparation for the Financial Accountability Regime

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Funded in the 2023 Budget, the Government’s Registry works by creating a controlled list of numbers of registered brand names, and preventing text messages from being sent using registered brand names unless the originating number matches the approved phone number on the Registry.
Feedback from consumers, industry, charities and government services will inform Government decision-making about next steps, including funding models for the finalised scheme.

Read More Stopping SMS Scammers Posing as Legitimate Institutions

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A lack of transparent pricing information caused a poor understanding by consumers of how prices were set. This was significantly worsened by a lack of competition. While market concentration was a major issue, the inquiry found prices in Australia are way higher than in many other less competitive markets.

Large price increases occurred across many sectors.

Read More Supermarkets, airlines and power companies are charging ‘exploitative’ prices despite reaping record profits

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A coalition of advocacy groups, including Consumer Action Law Centre, CHOICE and the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, have come out forcefully stating that customer reimbursement, paid for by industry through a customer’s own bank, must be at the centre of the Federal Government’s proposed new scam laws. The advocates say the new laws must be urgently implemented by the end of this year to stop the billions of dollars that are being lost by Australians every year to scammers.

Read More Industry Liability the Clear Path to Scam Reform

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Despite a decline in breaches overall, the latest report from the Banking Code Compliance Committee (BCCC) shows a concerning increase in breaches of bank obligations to support customers facing financial difficulty.

The report, Compliance with the Banking Code of Practice for January to June 2023, notes that breaches of obligations for dealing with customers facing financial difficulty have increased by nearly 40%.

This comes amidst a 9% decline in overall breaches, signalling a welcome success in efforts to improve practices.

Read More Increase in Banks’ Breaches of Financial Difficulty Obligations

Rank the Banks Other Lenders and Debt Collectors

Financial Counselling Australia, in conjunction with the state and territory financial counselling associations, released its bi-annual Rank the Banks (and Other Lenders) survey which found the big four banks performing well, but all other lenders failing their customers in financial hardship.

The survey collates the views of financial counsellors on how the banking industry and other lenders respond to customers in financial hardship. Undertaken in late September and October 2023, 431 financial counsellors responded from every Australian state and territory for a response rate of 42 per cent.

Read More 2023 Rank the Banks (and Other Lenders) Released

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9 out of 10 Australians also support strong penalties for digital platforms who fail to detect and prevent scams.

“Tech giants such as Facebook, Instagram and Google are failing to prevent scammers from using their platforms to target victims, causing enormous amounts of harm to consumers globally. In Australia, losses reported to Scamwatch from scams on social media have increased to over $66 million in 2023, an increase of more than 40% on the same time period in 2022,” says CHOICE Senior Campaigns and Policy Adviser, Alex Soderlund. 

Read More Global Consumer Alliance Urges Governments to Require Tech Companies to Protect People from Scams

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Every Australian deserves equitable access to banking services. That’s why the Australian Banking Association (ABA) has broadened the scope of its accessibility framework to ensure the banking sector remains inclusive in a fast-changing digital landscape.
An important addition to the Accessibility and Inclusion Principles for Banking Services is a section on embedding accessibility into digital authentication processes, as the banking industry steps up its fight against scams, fraud and identiy theft. 

Read More ABA Updates and Broadens Accessibility Framework

Consumers International Global Congress; Nairobi, Kenya 06-08 December 2023; Building a resilient future for consumers; supporting partners COMESA Competition Commission and Competition Authority of Kenya

Today the Congress was abuzz with passionate consumer advocates, experts and regulators taking a deep dive into everything from scams and AI to greenwashing and digital wallets. But at the heart of so many discussions today was the value of and the critical need to collaborate. It was recognised that collaboration both within and across borders is needed to help raise the voices on key issues impacting consumers and to learn from one another. Below are some of the highlights from Day 2!

Read More C is for Collaboration – Day 2 of Consumers International Global Congress

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“The ACCC will closely assess any proposed response, and in particular the extent to which it secures ongoing access to cash in remote and regional areas where bank branches are limited and members of the public often access cash through non-bank sources including Australia Post and retailers,” ACCC Acting Chair Catriona Lowe said.

“A key condition of this interim authorisation is that the ABA report on their discussions to maintain access to cash in regional and remote areas. This will be an important consideration for any future application for authorisation by the industry.”

Read More ACCC Authorises Industry Collaboration for Sustainable Access to Cash