The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) will refund around 25,000 customers $5 million in wrong late payment and over limit fees it charged them, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) says.
ASIC says the bank failed to properly apply some fee reductions and waivers for customers who held an ANZ Access Basic account, consumer credit card or Everyday Visa Debit Card since 2007.
The fees targeted some of the less well off in Australian society and even resulted in the overpayment of credit card insurance premiums because of errors made by the bank, which will also be refunded.
The Access Basic account is for people with a Seniors or Pensioner Concession cards, Centrelink Health Care card or a Repatriation Health card.
ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell said the account is specifically designed for low income consumers who are unable to pay high fees.
The corporate regulator says the failure was the result of breakdowns in the interaction between automated and manual processes, and in particular, the lack of reliability of some manual processes and controls.
It says ANZ has implemented a permanent automated solution with a system-based automated waiver.
The refunds also include an additional interest payment. ANZ has begun contacting affected customers to explain the error and the reimburse them. It hopes to have the refunds finalised by the end of April 2016.
ASIC acknowledged the cooperation of ANZ, who self reported the breach, in resolving the issue.
A spokesperson for the bank said it identified around 25,000 customers were incorrectly charged due to a processing error between December 2007 and mid-2014.
“We would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused and assure our customers we have fixed the processing error that caused the issue,” they said.
Anyone with queries or concerns should contact ANZ on 13 13 14.