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Banks Financial Hardship policies reviewed

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.

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