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Australian regulator sues NAB over charging fees for periodic payments

Reuters February 25 | Updated on February 25, 2021

Australian Securities and Investments Commission alleged that between Feb 25, 2015 and Feb 22, 2019, the bank charged fees for periodic payments more than 195,000 times, totalling A$365,454 ($291,449.57)

Australia’s corporate regulator on Thursday filed a lawsuit against the country’s No. 3 lender, National Australia Bank, alleging it charged customers fees for periodic payments for which it was not contractually entitled to do so.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) alleged that between February 25, 2015 and February 22, 2019, the bank charged fees for periodic payments more than 195,000 times, totaling A$365,454 ($291,449.57).

It also said the bank had identified the error in charging both personal and business banking customers by October 2016, but did not notify customers and lodge a report with ASIC until July 2018.

“NAB acknowledges that it charged some customers incorrectly for periodical payment fees because staff members selected an incorrect fee when setting up a payment arrangement for a customer,” the bank said in an emailed statement.

The lender added it was conducting a remediation program to refund the incorrectly charged fees, and had made payments of more than A$8 mn ($6.37 mn) to customers so far.

“By charging the fees, or by notifying customers of the charging of each fee via a bank statement, NAB made false or misleading representations that it was contractually entitled to charge the fees when it was not,” ASIC said in a statement.

NAB has faced multiple lawsuits since it was pulled up along with other Australian peers for allegedly charging customers “fees for no service” in a government-mandated inquiry into misconduct in the financial industry.

Published on February 25, 2021

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