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ANZ, National Bank Agree to Compensate Customers

30 March 2006


ANZ and The National Bank Agree to Compensate Customers Over Inadequate Currency Conversion Disclosure

ANZ and The National Bank have reached an agreement with the Commerce Commission relating to the disclosure of currency conversion charges incurred by customers on overseas debit and credit card transactions.

ANZ National Bank Chief Executive Graham Hodges said, “I apologise to both ANZ and National Bank customers. We accept that the way in which we disclosed the cost of currency conversion a few years ago was inadequate. This should not have occurred, and we want to put it right. We take compliance with regulation very seriously and it is unacceptable that we have not got this right. We will now contact all our customers who were affected by this issue and provide them with compensation."

The Commission has issued proceedings against nine New Zealand card issuing companies in respect of disclosure of the charges. ANZ and The National Bank are pleased to have been able to work with the Commission to resolve these matters in a fair and reasonable way.

This issue does not relate to current disclosure practices in New Zealand, as the fee which is charged for currency conversion has been appropriately disclosed in ANZ and The National Bank’s fees and charges brochures and on cardholder statements for some time.

The issue around disclosure impacts only the group of customers who, several years ago, used credit or debit cards while overseas or who purchased goods from overseas. ANZ and The National Bank considered incorrectly that the charge was simply part of the exchange rate and did not need to be disclosed.

ANZ and The National Bank have agreed to refund a portion of the currency conversion fee which has been paid by these customers and have set aside $5.2 million and $4.8 million respectively for this purpose. ANZ and The National Bank will be contacting affected customers and making compensation in the near future.

Both banks have worked very hard with the Commerce Commission to ensure that current disclosure is appropriate.


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