Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) launched 6 civil punishment proceedings To Westpac Bank on suspicion of multiple non-compliance, including billing services to more than 11,000 dead customers.
The allegations were filed in 2021 after several independent ASIC investigations and opposed Westpac’s banks, aging, and other businesses.
Westpac granted all claims and agreed to pay a $ 113 million ($ 80.4 million) fine, including $ 80 million ($ 57 million) as a bailout to its customers. These penalties have been jointly agreed by Westpac and ASIC and require court approval.
ASIC Vice-Chair Sarah Court said it was unprecedented for ASIC to file multiple proceedings against the same respondent at the same time, but these were “exceptional situations.”
“ASIC is disappointed with the large banks that they have to resume proceedings more than six times on this occasion,” said Sarah Court, ASIC Vice-Chair. “The actions and breaches alleged in these proceedings have caused widespread consumer harm, extending to Westpac’s day-to-day banking, financial advice, aging and insurance businesses.”
ASIC alleged that Westpac and its affiliates charged more than $ 10 million (US $ 7.1 million) in financial advice service fees to more than 11,000 dead customers over a 10-year period.
Allegations against Westpac also include issuing duplicate insurance policies to over 7,000 customers, claiming ongoing contributions to financial advice without proper disclosure, and selling consumer credit cards and flexi loan debt at false interest rates. included.
The court said that aspects common to all issues were inadequate systems, processes, and governance, suggesting an inadequate overall compliance culture within the bank.
“Westpac needs to urgently improve its system and culture to prevent these system failures from continuing,” the court said.
Westpac said most affected customers were indemnified and the rest of the payments would be completed as quickly as possible.
“We worked with ASICs through research and processes to reach this solution today,” said Peter King, CEO of Westpac. Said.. “This result is an important step forward for us to fix the problem and continue to build a stronger risk foundation.”
King acknowledged that the waist pack was below its own standards and the standards customers expected.
“The issues raised by these issues should not have occurred and our processes, systems and monitoring should have been better. We do things right and apologize generously to our customers.” Said King.