NAB looking to settle $38m late fees class action

NAB has been caught up in an industry-wide class action over bank fees that is one of the biggest in Australia’s history. NAB has been caught up in an industry-wide class action over bank fees that is one of the biggest in Australia’s history.
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NAB has been caught up in an industry-wide class action over bank fees that is one of the biggest in Australia’s history.

NAB has been caught up in an industry-wide class action over bank fees that is one of the biggest in Australia’s history.

National Australia Bank is moving towards a settlement in a class action over late bank fees which could see the bank pay out compensation costs of up to $38 million.

The entire class action, which encompasses nine financial institutions including all of Australia’s four largest banks, could be worth up to $240 million and is the biggest in the country’s history.

According to Financial Redress, a subsidiary of Bentham IMF which is funding the action, 272,593 accounts have been registered for the class action against nine different banks in Australia.

Maurice Blackburn, solicitors in the case, estimate 30,000 NAB customers have been hit with late lees on credit cards.

In a statement on Wednesday morning NAB confirmed that applicants in the NAB bank fees class action had lodged an application in the Federal Court on Friday, seeking approval to open and close the class.

NAB said this was a first but significant step towards reaching a potential settlement.

“We know that banking customers want to be treated fairly, which is why five years ago NAB made the decision to remove many of the fees and charges that annoy customers the most,” NAB chief executive Andrew Thorburn said.

“NAB was the first and remains the only bank to abolish overwhelmed fees on credit cards. Since 2010, NAB’s credit card late payment fee has been $5 – up to $15 less than our major competitors.”

A spokesman for Maurice Blackburn said it had been negotiating with NAB for some time, but would not elaborate on the settlement process.

“We would encourage all banks involved to follow NAB’s example to negotiate in good faith, to resolve a fair outcome for all banking customers that have unfairly been charged these fees,” the spokesman said.

The class action, which is over types of “dishonour” fees for late payments, is targeting all of the big four banks, with the case against ANZ Bank running as a test case.

Earlier this year, Justice Michelle Gordon in the Federal Court found that ANZ’s late credit card fees were unlawful, but several other types of fee were legal. ANZ and Maucrice Blackburn are both appealing the ruling and a decision is expected over the coming months.

An ANZ Bank spokesman would not comment on the next steps the lender would take in the class action because the matter is before the Full Federal Court.