CANBERRA, AAP – The Federal Court has fined and ordered the Commonwealth Bank of Australia to publish notices on its website acknowledging it misled its customers when it overcharged interest on business overdraft accounts.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission said the requirement for CBA to notify its customers and the general public that it unlawfully overcharged interest is an important part of deterrence, along with the $7 million fine handed down by the court.
“Not only does it ensure that CBA’s customers and the general public are aware of the misconduct, it sends a strong message that there is significant financial and reputational risk for failing to have the systems in place to prevent overcharging,” ASIC commissioner Sean Hughes said in a statement.
CBA breached the law on 12,119 occasions when it charged higher-than-advised interest rates on business overdraft accounts.
ASIC said CBA must comply with the adverse publicity orders within 30 days and maintain the notification of misconduct on its website for 90 days.
CBA has apologised to customers, saying such failures are unacceptable.
“All 2269 customers have been sent refunds and the remediation program has concluded,” a spokeswoman for the bank told AAP.
“The problems that caused the error have been addressed.
“While we have communicated with all impacted customers and addressed the issue, the court was considering the appropriate form of a corrective notice on the matter.
“Today the court gave orders for CBA to publish a written and audio-visual corrective notice on our website and we will do so before mid-September.”