Bank@Post services – ensuring Code compliance
Australia Post has partnered with banks to provide banking services through over 3,500 of its participating outlets. Bank@Post arrangements provide a valuable face-to-face service, particularly as banks close branches, especially in regional and remote areas.
Currently, 12 banks that subscribe to the Banking Code of Practice (the Code) offer limited banking services through Bank@Post, including cash and cheque deposits, cash withdrawals, and balance enquiries.
There are some obligations under the Code that apply to Bank@Post and they provide critical protections for customers. The obligations include having trained and competent staff, taking extra care with customers who are experiencing vulnerability, and providing inclusive, accessible banking, including in remote areas.
We are working with the Australian Banking Association (ABA) and its member banks to address our concerns with the adequacy of measures in place to ensure compliance with the Code.
We expect banks to review their compliance frameworks and implement appropriate measures for banking services provided through Bank@Post, with a particular focus on:
- having adequate mechanisms to identify and report on non-compliance with Code obligations,
- oversight and evidence to demonstrate effective operation of these mechanisms in practice, particularly in respect to vulnerability and accessibility obligations,
- promotion and awareness of the Code for Bank@Post staff and customers,
- ensuring Bank@Post staff are adequately trained, focusing on areas that pose a greater risk of consumer harm, including accessibility and vulnerability,
- ensuring inclusive banking services, including for First Nations customers, with obligations around cultural awareness and helping meet identification requirements.
The ABA is coordinating with its member banks and Australia Post to address our concerns. This approach will ensure an efficient and effective response, and a central point of coordination will reduce any potential risks and deliver better outcomes for banks, customers and Australia Post.
The ABA will provide us with a progress update by the end of the year, with a detailed implementation plan to address areas of concern, and a final report in the second half of 2024.
We will continue to monitor developments on Bank@Post arrangements as a priority focus area.
Who can you contact
If you have any concerns about the banking services you have received at Bank@Post, you should contact your bank. If you are dissatisfied with your bank’s response, you can submit a complaint to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).
If you believe there has been a breach of the Code, you can report the breach to us at the BCCC.
Key obligations under the Code
Given the limited nature of the services offered through Bank@Post, not all Code obligations apply. The following Code obligations would extend to Bank@Post services, noting that others may apply.
CHAPTER 2 – Publication and review of the Code
How the code is to be publicised and made available
4. We will promote the Code
5. We will ensure the Code is available and accessible in different ways, including in hard copy and electronically. If you want a hard copy you can ask us in a branch or over the phone and we will give or send you one for free.
CHAPTER 4 – Trained and competent staff
Our staff and representatives will be trained and competent — including about the Code
9. We will make sure that our staff and our representatives are trained so that they:
a) can competently do their work; and
b) understand the Code and how to comply with it when they are providing banking services.
How our staff will engage with you
10. We will engage with you in a fair, reasonable and ethical manner.
CHAPTER 5 – Protecting confidentiality
We will protect your confidentiality
11. We will meet our general duties under law to protect your confidentiality.
12. We will also have our own privacy policies available on our website.
CHAPTER 13 – Being inclusive and accessible
We believe in inclusive banking services
32. We are committed to providing banking services which are inclusive of all people including:
a) older customers;
b) people with a disability;
c) Indigenous Australians, including in remote locations; and
d) people with limited English.
33. We will train our staff to treat our diverse and vulnerable customers with sensitivity, respect and compassion.
We are committed to providing banking services which are accessible
34. We are committed to improving the accessibility of our banking services for people with a disability, older customers and people with limited English. We will take reasonable measures to enhance their access to those services.
When providing banking services to Indigenous customers
35. If you tell us you are an Indigenous customer, we will take reasonable steps to make our banking services accessible to you. We will also:
a) tell you about any accounts and services that are relevant to you;
b) tell you about any accounts or services that have no, or low standard fees, if our enquiries indicate you may be eligible for these and help you transfer to another account you want; and
c) help you meet any identification requirements, by following AUSTRAC’s guidance on identification and verification of persons of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage.
When providing banking services to remote customers
36. We will also assist our customers who reside in remote communities (including remote Indigenous communities) to access and undertake their banking services.
37. We will provide cultural awareness training to staff who regularly assist customers in remote Indigenous communities.
CHAPTER 14 – Taking extra care with customers who are experiencing vulnerability
We will take extra care with customers who are experiencing vulnerability
38. We are committed to taking extra care with customers who are experiencing vulnerability, including:
a) age-related impairment;
b) cognitive impairment;
c) elder abuse;
d) family or domestic violence;
e) financial abuse;
f) mental illness;
g) serious illness; or
h) any other personal, or financial, circumstance causing significant detriment. We may become aware of your circumstances only if you tell us about them.
39. We will train our staff to act with sensitivity, respect and compassion if you appear to be in a vulnerable situation.
40. If you tell us about your personal or financial circumstance, we will work with you to identify a suitable way for you to access and undertake your banking.
41. When we are providing a banking service to customers who are experiencing vulnerability we will:
a) be respectful of your need for confidentiality;
b) try and make it easier for you to communicate with us;
c) provide appropriate guidance and referrals to help you to maintain, or regain, control of your finances; and
d) refer you to external support, if appropriate.
CHAPTER 30 – Keeping your accounts safe and secure
We will tell you about safeguarding important items
116. We will tell you to safeguard your payment documents, cards and devices.
CHAPTER 32 – Cost of transaction service fees
We will tell you the cost of transaction service fee
123. If you are an individual that is not a business, we will tell you about a transaction service fee immediately before you incur the fee, if it is practical and reasonable for us to do so.
CHAPTER 47 – If you have a complaint about us
We will publicise our dispute resolution processes
197. We will publish, and make readily available, information about our internal dispute resolution processes and our external dispute resolution provider through:
a) our branches;
b) our telephone banking services; and
c) our websites or other digital platforms.
We expect the ABA and banks to assess and be satisfied that they have identified all relevant Code obligations that apply to Bank@Post.