Talk of legal action jumps the gun

Talk of legal action today relating to bank fees fails to take into account differences between the New Zealand and Australian banking sectors.

“Australian legislation around civil suits is very different from what we have in New Zealand. We are surprised the lawyers running this don’t appear to know about these differences. We also note that similar action in Australia remains unresolved,” said New Zealand Bankers’ Association chief executive Kirk Hope.

“The New Zealand banking sector also operates quite differently from Australia where this is being driven from.

“Three of the four main fees being targeted by this action have been overseen by the Commerce Commission for the last ten years. The Commission has released draft guidelines regarding these fees.

“Our banks communicate very clearly on fees, which is a reflection of our very competitive banking sector. The fees being singled out are avoidable, and our industry has also made it easy for customers to switch banks if they feel the fees they’re paying are too high.

“Banks work hard to attract and keep their customers, and will work with them to reduce their fees. This came through in a Consumer NZ survey last year which found bank customer satisfaction at 92 per cent, outshining other industries.

“We’re also not sure what’s motivating the action, how many Kiwis have signed up to this action, what their cut of any successful law suit would be, or how they’ve calculated the size of the proposed claim.

“We’d encourage customers concerned about fees to simply talk to their bank, rather than talk to lawyers,” added Hope.