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NAB class action: How customers can claim their money back

NAB customers could be getting some of their money back. Source: Supplied NAB customers could be getting some of their money back. Source: Supplied
IF YOU’RE one of the tens of thousands of NAB customers who have been stung by late payment fees, you might be in for a bit of holiday cheer.

The Federal Court today approved a settlement deal between NAB and law firm Maurice Blackburn in a class-action lawsuit that could see $40 million returned to NAB customers.

Last week, the bank announced it would settle the legal action that has also ensnared Citibank and Westpac.

Now that the court has approved the settlement deal, customers who have not already signed up to the class action will have a period of time to register. Those who have been hit by a late payment on their NAB credit cards will be eligible to join the lawsuit.

Bank customers will be able to sign up at the Financial Redress website from November 25 until January 27 next year.

Financial Redress is a wholly owned subsidiary of IMF Bentham, which is bankrolling the litigation in exchange for 25 per cent of the settlement.

NAB’s settlement agreement will put pressure on the other banks to make similar deals. Last week, NAB said it decided to settle because it believed it was the “right” thing to do for their customers.

However, NAB won’t be directly contacting each of its 1.2 million customers individually to inform them of the opportunity.

Class action client Peter Lipscombe told that he had been charged around $3000 in late payment fees over the decades he had a credit card with NAB. While he would like to receive some form of recompense, it was more important to him that the banks acknowledged that they have done.

“I want NAB and other banks to acknowledge that the average customer out there doesn’t need to be punished or bullied. We’re not just numbers, we’re people with families. I was, and still am, struggling to make ends these days. I have a young family and ageing parents to look after.”

So far, class actions have been launched against the ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, NAB, Citibank, St George, Bankwest and BankSA.

A judgment for the ANZ class action was handed down in February, with group members successful on late payment fees but not overdrawn or overlimit fees.

Both sides appealed the decision, with the appeal heard in August. A final decision by the Court of Appeal is yet to be delivered.

The other class actions are ‘parked’ ahead of that decision, but NAB has taken the smart PR route of opting to settle with customers.

James Middleweek, managing director of Financial Redress, said he encouraged any NAB customers who are not yet members of the class action to complete the registration process.

“The bottom line is these were rip-off fees and it’s high time the banks offered some compensation to customers,” he told

“It’s very easy for banks to hide behind a legal process. The reality is hundreds of thousands of bank customers know that they were treated unfairly over these fees. NAB now appears to be doing the right thing. The question is will other banks will follow suit, and if not, why not?”

Paul Gillett, senior associate in the class actions team at Maurice Blackburn, said today’s decision was an important early step in securing a settlement for bank customers.

“We welcome NAB’s commonsense approach in exploring the resolution of the bank fees class action against it, and we encourage other banks to follow suit,” he said in a statement.

“The court has enabled negotiations to progress productively, which is a positive outcome for NAB customers who have been hit with these fees.

“This is evidence that Australia has a mature class actions regime which is able to provide meaningful remedy to people on a mass scale, while providing a necessary check on corporate conduct.”



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