Council Questions ANZ’s Response

15/12/2017 14:59

The Consumer Council of Fiji understands that ANZ has clarified that it had sought Reserve Bank of Fiji’s (RBF) approval before putting out their public notice on the changes in their bank fees and charges.

However, the Council is still not pleased in the manner the bank relayed the message to the public. This information was relayed in a misleading manner not disclosing the facts clearly.

In the public notice under Microfinance Loans and Administration Charge, ANZ stated that “We’ve included this existing fee which remains $5 per month”. According to 2016 disclosure this fee was non-existent, so why is ANZ trying to mislead? The Microfinance Loans for 2016 did not carry any loan administration fee which according to the notice was an existing fee.

 Also, with Internet banking for personal cheque accounts – Internal transfer fees have been increased from $0.30 to $0.40. However, the Public Notice states “We have corrected the value of this fee which is charged at $0.40 per transfer”. How can consumers make informed decisions when the information presented to them is not clear? Is this ANZ’s ploy to not disclose information clearly but to meet RBF’s requirement of disclosing information? 

Furthermore, as per the public notice by ANZ, it stated that “We’ve updated the tiers and associated monthly charges”. However, there was no further details of the change mentioned in the notice. This is deemed inappropriate for a public notice, as the information presented is incomplete. At no point, ANZ informed the public that the 3rd tier ($1501 - $2000) under the Microfinance Loans have been removed.  This simply means microfinance entrepreneurs can only borrow up to $1000 from ANZ. So the limit of borrowing is reduced from $2000 to $1000 with a monthly admin charge of $5.

 ANZ has also said that they will be meeting with the Council and responding to the letter which the Council had written on 17 October, 2017 seeking an explanation on their misleading public notice. It’s almost 2 months now and the Council has not received any response. The Council is unable to understand the time ANZ takes to respond to a simple letter that is affecting so many consumers. Their willingness to meet is apparent that they intend to create a positive image in the marketplace only when the Council has raised the issue in the media.