Elder financial abuse, violent relationships, and unexpected long-term illness are all issues that the Australian Banking Association (ABA) hopes to address in its new vulnerable customer guidelines, which would complement the new Banking Code of Practice.
The guideline would outline ABA members’ commitment to ensuring customers could access banking products and services appropriate and fair to their circumstances, as well as reassure customers that they could tell the bank if they were experiencing vulnerability.
Financial Counselling Australia chief executive, Fiona Guthrie, welcomed the move from the ABA.
“At some point in our lives, many of us could find ourselves in situations that make us vulnerable - financial hardship, physical or mental illness, relationship breakdown or even cognitive impairment as we age,” Ms Guthrie said.
“We need to know that our banks will be there to support us through the good and the bad times.
The guidelines were open to consultation to the public and the ABA urged a range of people to submit.
“The industry is eager to hear from the community on what they think should be in this new guideline, including views from the general public along with stakeholder groups,” ABA chief executive, Anna Bligh, said.
“Banks will work with the community, incorporating feedback from this consultation process, to develop a new guideline which raise the bar in the support vulnerable customers can expect from their banks.”