Australian regulators have made public a report into National Australia Bank (NAB), accusing the FI of charging consumer and small business customers fees for services that were never rendered, reports in The Sydney Morning Herald said Wednesday (Aug. 15).
The Hayne Royal Commission released the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) report on Wednesday, detailing how NAB allegedly charged customers with incorrect fees since at least 2004.
The release of the report tops off nearly a week of NAB officials being grilled by the Royal Commission as officials questioned the FI over breach of superannuation law. NAB Chief Customer Officer Andrew Hagger is also suspected of withholding information from regulators about the fee scam, though he denies those claims.
The report, generated in October of last year, declares that NAB and its entities “have fallen below the standard expected of a responsible Australian financial services licensee.”
“They have failed to do all the things necessary to ensure that the financial services provided by them are done so efficiently, honestly and fairly,” the report noted. Officials also accuse NAB of misleading and deceiving customers, and of committing criminal breaches of reporting laws.
“ASIC is concerned by NAB and its group licensees’ apparent failure to appreciate the extent and seriousness of this issue, despite being on notice since at least 2010,” the ASIC added.
NAB has already agreed to refund nearly $90 million worth of fees to superannuation and wealth customers, reports noted. The ASIC also detailed in its report how the bank had previously received complaints about fees-for-no-service for several years, noting that NAB had not created a program to efficiently refund those fees to customers.
In response to the release of the report, NAB denied allegations of a systemic problem and called out the ASIC for delaying NAB’s refund initiative, which provides fee refunds only to customers who opted in to them.
The allegations against NAB are only the latest in a string of complaints and regulatory actions taken against financial institutions in Australia, as officials crack down on unfair banking practices, particularly against small businesses.