Two of Australia’s “big four” banks are facing a multi-million dollar claim in New Zealand for not refunding more than 150,000 customers the interest and fee charged following an alleged breach in disclosing changes to loan agreements.
The class-action lawsuit said Kiwi units of Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group did not clearly inform customers a change in some terms of home and personal loans and claimed that during the period the lenders cannot charge on a loan.
“The banks’ failures to refund their customers constitute serious breaches of the provisions of the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003 (CCCFA),” said solicitor Scott Russell of Russell Legal, the law firm that has filed the case.
Australian banks and financial institutions have been slapped with several lawsuits and have had to settle claims worth millions since a Royal Commission inquiry in 2018 found widespread mismanagement in the sector.
ANZ said it would defend the resolution as it was a historic issue with how loan payments were calculated, which was reported to the Commerce Commission in 2017 and subsequently settled.
“ANZ considers we have fairly remediated our customers and the matter has already been subject to regulatory oversight and resolution,” the spokesperson said.
CBA did not respond to a request for comment.
ANZ customers who took a loan between May 30, 2015 and May 28, 2016 may be eligible to participate in the claim, while customers of CBA-owned ASB Bank who borrowed between June 6, 2015 and June 18, 2019 can also be plaintiffs.
The case is funded by Australia-based litigation funder CASL and New Zealand’s LPF Group.
By Shashwat Awasthi and Byron Kaye