Canberra: The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) on Monday moved to sue ANZ, the country’s second largest bank, for allegedly misleading and overcharging customers.
In a statement, the financial regulator said that in the span of two years of investigation, 165,750 ANZ customers were charged cash advance fees and interest for withdrawing or transferring money based on an incorrectly displayed balance, reports Xinhua news agency.
The commission also said the bank had not adequately addressed the problem as customers continue to be affected.
“We are concerned that, over a long period of time, ANZ overstated the available funds and balances on credit card accounts, and nonetheless charged fees and interest to customers who relied on this information when making withdrawals,” ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court said.
Court noted that in some cases single customers had been unjustly charged thousands of Australian dollars in fees, and the average cost to those affected was A$47 ($34).
“This alleged misconduct is the result of system errors within ANZ and a lack of effort to comprehensively fix these issues,” said Court.
“We say that ANZ has been aware of the unlawful charging since at least 2018 and the problem is still occurring today.”
While ANZ has repaid losses of over A$10 million to customers affected up to November of 2018, the commission said they have yet to remediate customers affected after this date.
The filing would see ASIC seek penalties from the bank, and also seek orders for ANZ to implement a system change that would correctly display customers’ funds.