ANZ sanctioned for charging dead customers

Australian lender ANZ has been sanctioned for failing to withhold or refund fees from deceased customers and respond to their representatives within the required timeframe, a committee reviewing banking industry practices has announced.

In June 2023, the Banking Compliance Committee released its “Deceased Heirs Report”, which examined how banks in Australia were complying with the required obligations, and the BCCC subsequently launched an investigation into three lenders, including ANZ Group.

The practice of continuing to charge fees to deceased customers came to the fore during the Hayne Royal Commission established by the Australian government in December 2017. “The decision to sanction ANZ for its non-compliance reflects the seriousness of its breaches of the rules,” BCCC Chairman Ian Govey AM said.

ANZ acknowledged the report’s findings in an emailed response, citing the ‘significant’ amount of time it took the lender to provide information about a customer’s accounts to its representatives.

ANZ also said it has created a dedicated program to improve the experience of its dead customer agents and has changed a number of processes and technologies to manage these cases.

The improvement program is still ongoing and is expected to be completed by the end of July.

In its investigation report, the committee stated that ANZ will pay approximately A$3.3 million ($2.19 million) in compensation to 18,852 affected customers.

US has no plans to sanction Chinese banks over Russia