Kiwibank facing criminal charges

The Commerce Commission has filed criminal charges against Kiwibank alleging systemic breaches of the Fair Trading Act.

The breaches relate to issues that resulted in more than $7 million being incorrectly charged to more than 36,000 customers for fees and interest rates in relation to home loans, credit cards and overdrafts over several years.

Commerce Commission deputy chairwoman Anne Callinan says these are serious charges stemming from multiple errors in Kiwibank’s manual and electronic systems which resulted in the bank misrepresenting what customers owed.

“In the commission’s view these are longstanding, systemic breaches of the Fair Trading Act, some of which date back to Kiwibank’s inception in 2002,” Callinan says.

“Lenders must have processes in place to ensure consumers are getting a fair deal and are charged what was advertised to them.”

The commission expects banks to make the necessary investment in systems that support compliance obligations so they get things right for consumers, she says.

The issues were first identified by Kiwibank and reported to the commission. Callinan says Kiwibank has been contacting customers and is progressively refunding about $7 million in overcharges.

The criminal charges relate specifically to overcharging from 2019 onwards. As this case is now before the court, the commission says it can make no comment further.

Most Read

Get TMM delivered to your inbox each week

Sign Up