Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - Posted by Philip Harvey
A survey of 100 financial counselors by the Financial and Consumer Rights Council in Victoria reviewed the big 4 banks hardships policies. Comparing the results to other
industries, the banks 4 were outperformed by second tier banks, debt
collection agencies and utility companies. One industry the big 4 banks
outperformed was the Telecommunications industry.
Of the big 4 banks NAB faired the best scoring a mark of 6.39, ANZ 5.06, Westpac 4.75 and CBA 4.27.
Areas that the survey focused on were;
- a lack of understanding of hardship beyond the short term and as a result, customers whose period of hardship is longer than three months may not be given adequate arrangements
inconsistent application of policies within bank hardship teams
an inability to deal with customers who simply cannot pay, such as long-term Centrelink recipients whose situations are unlikely to change
inconsistent communication from some bank staff to financial counsellors
hardship being treated as subordinate to collections
- people who self-advocate being less likely to achieve the same outcomes as those who engage a financial counsellor
lack of publicly available data that tracks customer outcomes of financial hardship programs.