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Copeland calls for bank interest charge probe

Monday, 1 August 2005

Copeland calls for bank interest charge probe

The Banking Ombudsman needs to look more closely at interest charging practices during the 1990s by the Bank of New Zealand, in light of the Sunday Star-Times revelation of massive overcharging by the National Bank of Australia in Australia, United Future Finance spokesman Gordon Copeland said today.

"The multi-million dollar overcharging scandal which has now been revealed in Australia follows hot on the heels of similar practices at the National Irish Bank revealed earlier this year. In both Ireland and Australia, the NBA has been forced to credit millions of dollars back to overcharged customers.

"The Bank Customer Action Collective here in New Zealand has been pushing for some time now for an investigation of claims that the BNZ also overcharged its customers during the 1990s.

"So far however the Banking Ombudsman has not taken these charges seriously," Mr Copeland said.

"Since the NBA is the parent company of both the National Irish Bank and the BNZ, and even in its own operations in Australia has been found to be grossly overcharging, the pressure is mounting on the Banking Ombudsman to investigate.

"That's what the Irish authorities did. They appointed a prominent chartered accountant and judge to thoroughly examine the allegations and found they were proven.

"Surely New Zealand bank customers deserve no less. The BNZ should be happy to co-operate fully with an investigation of this kind as a chance to clear their name and reputation if no overcharging has occurred."


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