NAB takes on financial abuse

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In a bid to stamp out financial abuse NAB has today announced an important update to its terms and conditions that will allow bankers to ‘cut-off’ customers who’ve been identified as committing financial abuse.

The new reference to ‘unacceptable account conduct’ officially puts customers on notice that the bank can suspend, cancel or deny individuals access to their savings and transaction accounts if the bank identifies them as engaging in financial abuse.

NAB’s Head of Customer Vulnerability, Michael Chambers, said financial abuse was a common tactic used by perpetrators to control individuals.

“Concerns about financial abuse remains one of the top reasons customers get in touch with our customer support team, NAB Assist,” Mr Chambers said.

“If a NAB account holder is now found to be perpetrating financial abuse, we will be able to suspend or terminate their services.

“Financial abuse can take many forms including where an individual is denied access to their own funds or has their funds misused by another individual. This form of control can occur between couples, family members or relationships where one person is providing care for another.

“We’re taking a firm stand against financial abuse, and we aren’t resting there. We’re working with other banks to help develop a consistent approach across the industry.”

The move bolsters the bank’s existing commitment to stamp out financial abuse through the blocking of abusive messages sent via payment transfers. Since January 2022, the bank has blocked more than 200,000 abusive transactions, using technology which searches for key words and phrases.

“Right now, we’re blocking around 15,000 abusive messages each month sent through payment channels and today’s move further puts financial abusers on notice that we will do everything we can to protect innocent people,” Mr Chambers said.

NAB offers support to individuals who have experienced financial abuse domestic and family violence through a range of initiatives:

  • Abusive transaction prevention in mobile and internet banking to block and investigate abusive and messages
  • Domestic and family violence grants of up to $2500 are available to support customers fleeing domestic violence circumstances
  • No Interest Loans (NILs) in partnership with Good Shepherd to support people who have experienced domestic and family violence
  • Referrals to support services, including Uniting CareRing, TELUS Health, Ask Izzy, 1800Respect, WIRE and Relationships Australia

“NAB is here to help. Our NAB Assist team speaks to more than 1,000 customers a day needing financial support, including victims of domestic and family violence, and financial abuse. For most of these calls, it is the first time a customer has had to pick up the phone and say to the bank ‘I need help’, which we know can be daunting,” Mr Chambers said.

Customers who need support can contact NAB on 1800 701 599 or access a range of resources and support here.

 

Notes to editors:

  • NAB’s financial abuse terms and conditions cover our banking channels only (ie Internet Banking and the Mobile App). It does not include statements made on social media.
  • Changes to the relevant terms and conditions came into effect in November 2023.
  • The updates to NAB’s policy have been informed by the paper ‘Designed to Disrupt’, authored by Catherine Fitzpatrick, founder of Flequity Ventures, and supported by the Centre for Women’s Economic Safety. The paper focusses on improving the economic safety of women through the design of product and services.

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