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ANZ reveals new principles for dispute resolution

The big four bank has created 15 dispute resolution principles for handling customer complaints and legal matters fairly. 

ANZ Bank has revealed that it has created a list of 15 dispute resolution principles aimed at ensuring its staff members and appointed external lawyers handle retail and small business customer complaints and legal matters – excluding class actions or other group complaints – fairly and in line with community expectations.

The major bank said the principles “represent a small but important” part of its response to the banking royal commission and have been written in “plain English to make them easily accessible and understandable to all parties involved in a relevant dispute resolution process”.

The 15 principles are:

  • Listen intently

  • Don’t defend the indefensible

  • Apologise;

  • md discover

    Follow through

  • Work toward a solution

  • Take quick action

  • Communicate directly

  • Take extra care

  • Be even handed

  • Rectify our errors

  • Cooperate with external dispute resolution bodies

  • Assess ANZ’s position early

  • Only litigate where there is no reasonable alternative

  • Keep costs down

  • Act fairly

ANZ noted that the dispute resolution principles would evolve over time based on experience and feedback.

Commenting on the principles, ANZ deputy CEO Alexis George said: “When we are attempting to resolve customer disputes, we want to act in the spirit of the law, not just the letter of the law, which means considering community expectations.

“Today we are making a public commitment on how we want to conduct ourselves during disputes and, importantly, we have shared these principles with our external legal partners, so they know how we want to be represented.”

Ms George commended ANZ customer fairness advisor Colin Neave’s efforts in establishing the principles.

The big four bank in February revealed the 16 changes it would initially make in response to commissioner Kenneth Hayne’s recommendations, including no longer charging default interest to drought-stricken farmers, scrapping overdrawn and dishonour fees on its Pensioner Advantage accounts, and creating a dedicated phone service and easier account identification for Indigenous Australian customers, among other changes.  

ANZ noted that it would provide a further update on its response to the banking royal commission when it releases its interim result on 1 May 2019.

[Related: ANZ puts Hayne recommendations into effect]

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