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Financial abuse perpetrators put ‘on notice’ by major banks

Two major banks have updated their terms and conditions in a bid to combat customers who might be committing financial abuse.

National Australia Bank (NAB) has put customers who engage in “unacceptable account conduct” on notice. NAB’s updated terms and conditions will allow its bankers to suspend, cancel or deny individuals access to their savings or transaction accounts if they’re found to be committing financial abuse.

This move follows up on NAB’s existing commitment to eradicate financial abuse via the blocking of abusive messages sent through payment transfers.

According to the major bank, it has blocked more than 200,000 abusive transactions with the use of technology that searches for key words and phrases since January 2022.

The changes to NAB’s relevant terms and conditions are set to come into effect in November this year.

NAB head of customer vulnerability Michael Chambers said the use of financial abuse as a method of control was a common tactic.

“Financial abuse can take many forms including where an individual is denied access to their own funds or has their funds misused by another individual.

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“This form of control can occur between couples, family members or relationships where one person is providing care for another.

“We’re taking a firm stand against financial abuse, and we aren’t resting there. We’re working with other banks to help develop a consistent approach across the industry,” Mr Chambers said.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) also said it will name financial abuse as unacceptable customer behaviour in new terms and conditions on a range of products.

According to a CBA survey of almost 2,000 Australians aged over 65, 28 per cent have experienced financial abuse or know someone who has.

Of those experiencing financial abuse, 52 per cent believe they can deal with the behaviours of financial abuse themselves.

These moves were welcomed by the Centre for Women’s Economic Safety (CWES) as a “significant step forward”.

Chief executive officer of CWES Rebecca Glenn said the response for the two major banks have made it harder for perpetrators of financial abuse to use the tactic as coercive control.

“Few other businesses are better placed to protect women against financial abuse and its devastating health and economic impacts for them and their children.

“I’m delighted to see the Commonwealth Bank and NAB build on a range of other initiatives they’ve put in place to support people experiencing financial abuse and domestic and family violence.”

[RELATED: Financial counselling services thrown $7.75m donation]

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