Founding member leaves as AFCA appoints replacement

8 December 2023
| By Jasmine Siljic |
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The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has welcomed a new member to its independent board as it announces the departure of a founding member. 

Heron Loban will commence her new position on 1 January 2024 as replacement for founding member Carmel Franklin, who became a member of the inaugural AFCA board in 2018.

Franklin also served as a consumer director on the board of one of its predecessor schemes, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

John Pollaers OAM, AFCA board chair, thanked the founding member for her dedication and contribution over her nearly nine years with AFCA and FOS.

“She has been a stalwart on the board, providing invaluable consumer insights and expertise,” he said.

The chair also welcomed incoming Loban’s “impressive set of skills and experience” to the board as a director with consumer experience.

He commented: “As a highly regarded Indigenous lawyer who is dedicated to consumer advocacy work, she will make a strong contribution. 

“Throughout her career, she has been passionate about access to justice and fairness and she recognises the vital role that ombudsman schemes play in helping to secure fair resolutions to financial disputes.”

Loban is an in-house counsel with Queensland South Native Title Services and a company director for Mura Lagh, a First Nations-owned and led consulting firm.

She has also held various academic positions, including senior lecturer at Griffith University and James Cook University.

Moreover, Loban is a member of the Indigenous Advisory Group of ASIC, the First Nations Clean Energy and Emissions Reduction Advisory Committee and the Advisory Board for Reforming Legal Education.

“The board is excited to be welcoming Heron as a leader, a First Nations woman, a lawyer, a consumer advocate and an academic. Her involvement with multiple community and industry groups gives her a unique perspective,” Pollaers added.

The AFCA board consists of an independent chair and an equal number of directors with consumer and industry experience, covering the multidimensional and highly complex industries the ombudsman deals with.

It has seen numerous departures and appointments over the past few months.

In November, it was announced that two founding directors Claire Mackay and Andrew Fairley AM will be leaving at the end of the year. Mackay joined the AFCA board in May 2018, and Fairley in July 2018.

They will be replaced by Raylene Bellottie and Yien Hong, AFCA shared. 

Swati Dave was also welcomed to its independent board in October, replacing Jennifer Darbyshire who served on the AFCA board since it began in November 2018.

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