Financial advice the least of 20 bank class actions

Twenty class actions have been mounted against the major banks and are either still on foot or in the process of settlement.

What is more the Commonwealth Bank has revealed itself as being the most exposed to class actions with seven cases underway as of November, while ANZ was dealing with seven, and both Westpac and National Australia Bank four each.

Importantly, while ANZ was facing seven actions, only four of those are in Australian jurisdiction and relate to just two issues.

That is the bottom line of evidence provided to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics and, just as importantly, only a few of the class actions relate to provision of financial advice.

Delivering answers to both written questions and questions on notice from the Committee, the four banks detail a total of 20 class actions.

The seven class actions cited by the Commonwealth Bank encompassed two relating to the bank’s alleged anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism breaches, one related to Colonial First State Investments Limited’s superannuation fund trustees duties on cash and deposit options within its superannuation funds, another related to the treatment of Bankwest loans, and yet another related to the transfer of default balances into CFS default products.

The CBA answer said one class action also related to trustee duties in relation to grandfathered commissions and another was in US jurisdiction and related to manipulating the US Bank Bill Swap Rate.

For its part NAB said it was defending four class actions: “The Consumer Credit Insurance (CCI) class action; the Bank Bill Swap (BBSW) class action in the US; a group action in the UK against NAB and Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank (CYB) in relation to Tailored Business Loans; and a class action against NULIS in relation to grandfathered commissions”.

Westpac said it was defending four class actions – the BBSW class action, a class action filed in October 2017 on behalf of customers who obtained insurance issued by Westpac Life Insurance Services on the recommendation of Westpac financial advisers,  a class action related to responsible lending around mortgages and a class action filed in September, last year relating to BT Funds Management’s BT Super for Life cash investment option.

ANZ said it was facing seven class actions – two related actions alleging breach of contract and unconscionable conduct in relation to lending to 7-Eleven franchisees and two related class actions in relation to fees. The other ANZ actions were in relation to the BBSW, a NZ action relating to transactional services and an action in Guam alleging breach of US legislation in relation to fees on variable home loan lending in American Samoa.



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