The Banking Code Compliance Committee (BCCC) is working with the Australian Banking Association (ABA) to coordinate with 12 of its members to ensure banking services offered through Bank@Post comply with the Banking Code of Practice.
Bank@Post arrangements provide a valuable face-to-face service, particularly as banks close branches, especially in regional and remote areas.
The BCCC wants to ensure, as a priority, that important consumer protections have been implemented for the services banks offer through Bank@Post.
Chair of the BCCC, Ian Govey AM, highlighted the importance of the Bank@Post arrangements.
“There are 12 banks offering services through Bank@Post with over 3,500 outlets. This is a significant proportion of the sector, and we consider it an important issue for customers and the industry,” Mr Govey said.
“With an increasing reliance on Bank@Post as an alternative to traditional in-person banking at branches, it is crucial banks ensure these services comply with their Code obligations.”
In collaboration with Customer Owned Banking Code Compliance Committee (COBCCC) the BCCC will continue to work with the ABA to ensure Bank@Post services come with adequate oversight, systems, and processes.
“We are working with key stakeholders on this and we will monitor the progress banks are making through our regular reporting requirements,” Mr Govey said.
While the BCCC has identified this as a priority, it recognises that there are a limited number of Code obligations that apply to Bank@Post services.
Acting CEO of the BCCC, René van de Rijdt, outlined the expectations of the BCCC.
“While we know there are limited obligations for Bank@Post in the Code, they are obligations that provide critical protections for customers. For example, having trained and competent staff, taking extra care with customers experiencing vulnerability, and providing inclusive and accessible banking services, including for customers in remote areas and First Nations customers with obligations for cultural awareness and helping with identification requirements.”
“We know through our monitoring work that customers seeking face-to-face banking services, like those offered through Bank@Post, may be more likely to be experiencing vulnerability,” Mr van de Rijdt said
“We see banks continuing to improve their practices to meet the needs of customers experiencing vulnerability and to deliver inclusive and accessible services. These standards also apply to services delivered through partners, including Bank@Post.”
The BCCC noted that its early engagement with a small number of banks and other key stakeholders highlighted the importance of Bank@Post customers being afforded crucial protections under the Code.
The BCCC will work with the ABA to ensure a coordinated approach to improve practices.
This involves banks reviewing their compliance frameworks and implementing appropriate measures to ensure their Code obligations extend to Bank@Post services.
“We expect that the approach taken with ABA co-ordination will ensure an efficient and effective response and deliver better outcomes for banks, customers and Australia Post,” Mr van de Rijdt said.
The ABA will provide the BCCC with a targeted workplan by end of the year, with a detailed implementation plan to address areas of concern. It will provide a final report on the issues in the second half of 2024.
If customers have concerns about Bank@Post services, they should raise them with their bank in the first instance. If a customer is not satisfied with the outcome, they can contact the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) or the BCCC.
Customers can read more about our work on Bank@Post arrangements on the BCCC website.