Australias Banks Face Year Of Reckoning As Inquiry Shreds Trust


SYDNEY – When Australian mother Catherine racked up a A$1,500 credit card debt to spoil her three children at Christmas, she did not expect to be paying it off more than two decades later.

But a combination of late payment, credit limit excess and administration fees, on top of interest, saw the debt rise faster than she could pay it down, and by last year her lender, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ANZ.AX), was still chasing payments for a debt that had barely shrunk since she canceled the card three months after taking it up in 1996.

“A couple of times I called them and said ‘how long until I’ve paid it off?’, and they just said ‘no no, you keep paying it until it’s paid out’. It never reduced,” said Catherine, who estimates she has paid the bank A$8,000 in fees, interest and debt payments.

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