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Original ANZ Class Action (personal loans)
Between 1985 and 1996 the ANZ bank incorrectly disclosed information on a large number of ANZ personal loans. This resulted in the bank being liable for interest fines under credit laws.
Where a consumer suffered a loss, the consumer was entitled to compensation.
The long running case was conducted on behalf of approximately 1,000 consumers who had personal loans with the bank between 1985 and 1996. Maurice Blackburn fought the case for ten years.
Maurice Blackburn settled a case against the ANZ bank for the largest ever civil payout for this type of case of more than $7 million. The settlement proposal was approved by courts in Victoria in 2002 and other States early in 2003.
ANZ was forced to pay refunds to consumers of $1.83 million and a further $5.25 million to consumer credit funds. The case related to non-disclosure of information on personal loan contracts.
As part of the settlement, ANZ made a number of damning admissions about its conduct including that:
- The Bank failed to comply with the Credit Act in 70% of 360,000 personal loan contracts entered into;
- The Bank had a poor overall compliance system, lack of procedures for checking for compliance and inadequate training for Bank staff;
- That despite being advised by legal advisers in July 1989 that there were significant systemic defects, the Bank failed to take any remedial action until the end of 1993;
- The Bank misled the Victorian Minister of Consumer Affairs in 1992 about the extent of errors discovered on loan contracts;
- The bank engaged in a strategy of delay to avoid taking action about some of the most serious errors. This strategy delayed the resolution of the case for several years.
As well as the large compensation payouts, the case forced the banks to lift standards of training and documentation so these sorts of mistakes do not occur in the future.