Tuesday, December 13, 2016 - Posted by Michael McCulloch
After an investigations by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission ("ASIC"), BMW Australia Finance has been ordered to refund millions of dollars worth of loans after having been found it breached responsible lending provisions.
The program, open to customer under BMW Financial Services, Mini Financial Services and Alphera Financial Services brands, have been ordered by ASIC to provide $72 million in redress for consumers made up of:
- $14.6 million in remediation payments;
- $7.6 million in interest rate reductions on current Contracts; and
- $50 million in loan write-offs.
As part of the deal BMW Australia Finance has agreed to pay $5 million in community benefits to contribute toward consumer advocacy and financial literary initiatives.
The remediation program has, to date, identified 15,000 customers who between January 2011 and August 2016 may have suffered financial hardship owing to BMW Australia Finance's compliance failures and will subsequently remove any defaults and will buy back debt sold to 3rd parties ensuring that written-off loans are not subject to further debt collection activities.
In a statement, ASIC Deputy Chairman, Peter Kell, said, "BMW Finance had a sales-driven culture that failed to comply with the requirements of the credit laws and resulted in poor outcomes for many consumers. We are encouraged that BMW Finance has recognised these shortcomings and agreed to a remediation program that will see thousands of consumers compensated. This is an example of the staggering cost of poor business practices and should act as a warning to other car financiers to get their houses in order".
The remediation program will be overseen by an independent remediation consultant.