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A senior Australian court has ordered Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, ANZ, to pay A$10 million ($7.14 million) in penalties for “unconscionable conduct” over how it charged clients.
Between August 2003 and September 2015, ANZ charged certain fees to personal and business customers in relation to periodic payments, a statement from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission said.
The fees included those charged for periodic payments that could not be made due to insufficient funds in a client’s account, and transaction fees charged for successful periodic payments. ANZ wasn’t entitled to charge non-payment fees or transaction fees to customers where the periodic payment was made between two accounts held in the same customer name (same-name fees).
ANZ admitted that from around 11 July 2011, after being informed by its external lawyers, that it knew there was a risk it was not contractually entitled to charge same-name fees to non-loan retail and commercial customers. Despite knowing this risk, prior to December 2013, ANZ did not determine whether it was entitled to charge the same-name fees and continued to charge them to the affected customers until September 2015.
The penalty on ANZ was imposed by The Federal Court of Australia.