CBA, NAB & Westpac fees to be challenged

Litigation funder IMF (Australia), which is running the ANZ penalty fees case, together with law firm Maurice Blackburn, said in a media release that it would issue proceedings “against a number of other banks in the coming weeks”.

Through subsidiary Financial Redress, IMF has collated a database of more than 200,000 bank customers willing to support class actions against banks and credit card companies. The actions will challenge the validity of the penalty fees (such as late payment fees, overdrawn fees and dishonour fees) that are a common feature of everyday transaction accounts and credit cards.

In late 2009 all banks followed the lead of National Australia Bank and reduced (and, in some cases, eliminated) what the banks prefer to describe as exception fees.

According to data published by the Australian Bankers Association, the industry collected A$764 million in exception fees in 2010, which was down $717 million on the 2009 take of $1.48 billion.

Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac can all expect to be subject to class actions given the size of their customer lists and the value of potential damages. Other potential targets listed on the website of Financial Redress include the Bank of Queensland, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, Citibank, HSBC and Suncorp.

Source: Banking Day

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