Australian court fines ANZ Group $6.6 million for breaching consumer protection laws

FILE PHOTO: The logo of the ANZ Banking Group is displayed in the window of a branch in central Sydney, Australia, Aprl 30, 2016. REUTERS/David Gray

(Reuters) – An Australian court has fined ANZ Group Holdings A$10 million ($6.6 million) in penalties for non-compliance with consumer credit protection laws in a case that stems from the country’s Royal Commission proceedings, a corporate watchdog said on Friday.

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) said the fine related to the lender’s home loan introducer program – that allowed third parties to refer customers for home loans – between March 2017 and March 2018.

“The program received considerable criticism in the Financial Services Royal Commission for exposing consumers to an additional layer of risk by insulating the lender from what the intermediary does with the borrower,” the ASIC said in a statement.

The court case stems from a 2017 Royal Commission inquiry into Australia’s financial services industry, which ended up exposing widespread misconduct in the sector.

“ANZ has cooperated with ASIC during this process, is nearing completion of a customer remediation program and has made changes to its home loan processes,” the bank said.

Earlier on Friday, the ASIC said the country’s six largest banking services providers had paid or offered A$4.7 billion in compensation to customers who suffered losses for fees charged for services that were not provided. ($1 = 1.5161 Australian dollars)


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