CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland presents the COVID Fairness Scorecard - Assets: https://shwca.se/BankScorecard
Consumer advocate CHOICE has ranked Australia's Big 4 banks on their COVID-19 responses. The COVID Fairness Scorecard compares the banks' actions in helping Australians navigate financial hardship arising from COVID-19.
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A more detailed scorecard is available as a PDF at https://shwca.se/BankScorecard
To read more and learn about the ranking - visit choice.com.au/rankthebanks
The ranking found ANZ was the worst offender of the Big 4, with Commonwealth Bank and NAB not far behind. Westpac was the highest-scoring bank, with some positive initiatives, but still much more work to be done.
"With many people struggling to manage their finances after a drop in income, the Big 4 banks need to do a lot more," says CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland.
"While their marketing teams have been quick to tell the community how they're helping, our analysis has found a lot left to be desired in their COVID-19 responses."
"ANZ came last in the CHOICE COVID Fairness Scorecard. In particular, CHOICE experts found ANZ continued to take advantage of credit card customers with outrageously high interest rates," says Mr Kirkland.
"Commonwealth Bank also failed in the CHOICE COVID Fairness Scorecard. In particular, its decision to switch all mortgage customers to minimum repayments without their consent deserves to be called out. This careless decision means many people, irrespective of whether they are in hardship, will pay more interest over a longer time. Customers should have been given a choice," says Mr Kirkland.
"Westpac and NAB just scraped through with a pass, with many areas for improvement. Despite landing the top spot, Westpac has the most expensive credit card on the market, at the eye-watering rate of 20.49%, while NAB’s supposedly low rate card comes with a 12.99% interest rate."
"In a rare example of industry leadership, Westpac deserves to be applauded for its decision not to charge interest on personal loans and credit cards for people who have had repayments paused. This means that their debts won't keep growing while they are getting their finances back on track," says Mr Kirkland.
CHOICE is calling on the banks to:
- Refund interest accrued on deferred loans for all people in financial hardship.
- Cut exorbitant interest rates on credit cards to reflect the historic low cash-rate environment.
- End the marketing of harmful balance transfer credit card.
- Waive debts for people in long-term financial hardship.
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"This is only the first test for the banks. The banks have a massive challenge approaching in September when many of their current commitments to help customers will end. Banks need to heed the lessons of the banking royal commission and put the best interests of their customers first," says CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland.
CHOICE's Make Banking Fair campaign has over 23,000 supporters calling on the bank's to treat their customers fairly during COVID-19. For 60 years, CHOICE has worked with consumers to fight for fair, safe and just markets. Today is no different. Hundreds of consumers who support fairer banking paid for a scorecard ranking the banks to appear today in advertising across the country. Australians can join the campaign here
Media contact: Jonathan Brown, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0430 172 669
Images and video available on Dropbox: https://shwca.se/BankScorecard