The big four banks have been ranked on how they deal with Victorian consumers in financial hardship.
The survey by the Financial and Consumer Rights Council found that each bank, and particularly Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) and Westpac, needs to ‘lift their game’ when dealing with customers who are struggling to make repayments.
Consumers can find themselves in financial difficulty for any number of reasons including economic instability, unexpected illness, relationship breakdown and unemployment.
The survey of over 100 Victorian financial counsellors in late 2011 found that Westpac and CBA both ‘failed’ overall in their responses to people in financial difficulty.
The survey focused on the quality of communication with customers and financial counsellors, satisfaction with the outcome, and bank processes and attitudes.
FCRC’s Exective Officer, Peter Gartlan explained that the survey aimed to highlight what is working well and improve the policies and procedures that are failing.
“The way the banks respond to their customers struggling to make repayments can often make or break a family’s path to financial recovery. The report clearly identifies areas for improvement for the banks’ hardship policies and procedures and we look forward to working with them to achieve better customer outcomes, which we see as a win/win,” Mr Gartlan said.
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