Banks welcome government review

The Australian Bankers Association (ABA) says the federal government’s review into external dispute resolution schemes in the finance sector will go hand-in-hand with its new measures aimed at “strengthening community trust” in banks.

ABA chief executive Steven Münchenberg said the review into external dispute resolution schemes is important to ensure the right processes are in place to handle disputes from individual and small business customers.

“When a customer is unhappy, they are entitled to be heard and to have clear processes for having their complaint dealt with, first by their bank, and if still not satisfied, through external dispute resolution,” he said.

Mr Münchenberg said banks want to help customers work through any disputes to avoid the need for external intervention, and as part of new measures to protect customer interests, will ensure they have an independent customer advocate to offer guidance and support.

The banking industry will also work with the review to look at increasing the monetary limit of claims that the Financial Ombudsman Service can assess and the amount of compensation it can award, Mr Münchenberg said.

“We will be looking to ensure there is clarity for customers about which process is right for them without adding complexity or bureaucracy to external dispute resolution processes,” he said.

“Banks will also continue to consult with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission on its work to improve customer remediation programs. We support expanding these programs from personal advice to cover all types of financial advice and products.”

[Related: Bank remuneration headed for independent review]

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