While the role was established in 2016 to help improve fairness of the bank’s products and services for retail, small-business and wealth customers in Australia, it’s expanding its focus into its digital capacity and services, as past failures to provide loan benefits have been subject to regulatory pressure.
As the bank looks ahead it’s making moves to “simplify its home loan offerings” and instils confidence that Ms Halls will help use data responsibly and ensure decision-making is fair.
Ms Halls has more than 25 years of experience in the legal and financial services industries and has most recently been the lead ombudsman at the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.
ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott said: “[Ms Halls’] significant experience across the financial services sector will be crucial in helping us deliver fair products and services.
“This is a crucial role for ANZ … I’m confident Evelyn will build on the legacy of Colin Neave who served as ANZ’s inaugural Customer Fairness Advisor.”
Breakfree package removed
As part of the bank’s move to simplify its home loan offerings its Breakfree package will be removed by Saturday (19 March) and discontinued around mid-September 2022.
From mid-September existing package benefits will cease to apply, and customers’ home loans will move to a “simple fee structure” paying for features they “choose to use”.
The decision came after the controversial package was subject of an ASIC investigation, over its failure to provide loan benefits promised with offset transaction accounts.
The Breakfree package was said to provide a discounted interest rate and allow customers to bundle their home loan with other products such as a credit card and an everyday banking or offset account, in exchange for paying an annual fee.
But, the bank failed to deliver its offering, which resulted in a remediation bill of around $200 million.
From mid-September all new ANZ home loan applications or renewals will be on its “redesigned fee structure”, which has removed set-up and ongoing fees.
ANZ’s newly appointed customer fairness adviser Ms Halls will take on the new role in late March based in Melbourne.
Alongside her tenure in legal and financial services, Ms Halls is also a two-time Olympian and an executive member of the Australian Olympic Committee, serving most recently as the deputy chef de mission of the Australian Olympic Team at the Tokyo Olympics.
She is also a member of the ethics & integrity committee of Athletics Australia and was previously an integrity commissioner for Cricket Victoria.