Royal Commission reveals ANZ may have breached responsible lending laws

19 March 2018

Royal Commission reveals ANZ may have breached responsible lending laws

The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry continued its hearings on Monday. Under questioning from Rowena Orr QC, senior counsel assisting the Royal Commission, ANZ general manager of home loans and retail lending Will Ranken admitted that the bank did not take any meaningful steps to verify borrowers’ living expenses.

Under the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (Cth), lenders are required to make reasonable enquiries about a customer’s financial situation, and to take reasonable steps to verify the alleged financial situation.

When Ms Orr asked whether ANZ took steps to verify the information provided by brokers, Mr Ranken stated that ANZ did not verify customer’s general living expenses.

After further questioning, Mr Ranken testified that the bank did not investigate inconsistency between a customer’s bank statements and their stated living expenses.

“There are transactions on those statements that are inconsistent with the statement of position and we don’t do anything,” he said.

When asked by Ms Orr whether that was “satisfactory” Mr Ranken said “I personally do, yes”. Pressed as to why verification of customer’s spending was not even attempted, Mr Ranken replied: “We’re talking about the manual review of paper-based bank statements and to use those to verify customers’ statement of position, particularly general living expenses, would be highly complex, very time consuming, very costly and, ultimately, not necessarily that helpful.”