One of Australia’s largest law firms has called on the big banks to prove they are serious about customer remediation and to establish an independent structural program.
Slate and Gordon has told the big banks that they should introduce a formal process of structure remediation through which independent advice is provided to customers who may be entitled to compensation.
The process, as explained by the law firm, would involve a qualified, independent third party being engaged by the banks to help customers understand what has happened to their money, what their rights are and the remediation process.
Chief executive for Slate and Gordon John Somerville said that it was critical for the issue of remediation to not be swept under the rug.
“Since Justice Hayne handed down his recommendations, the public focus has been on punishment to bankers and the potential for legislative change — but what about all the victims?” Mr Somerville said.
Mr Somerville said that if banks were serious about turning over a new leaf, they needed to bring in an independent structure.
“If there is one thing the royal commission has demonstrated, it is that the power imbalance between customer and bank is too wide. You can’t rely on that power dynamic to deliver justice in the form of fair remediation.”
Mr Somerville said that if the banks failed to introduce new processes, then they could expect to see more class actions.
“Last year, Slater and Gordon launched what we believe will be the nation’s biggest ever series of class actions, with the Get Your Super Back campaign.
“Class actions are obviously a model we are extremely comfortable with and they do deliver justice, but it can be a lengthy process. It would be preferable for all concerned if the banks took a more proactive approach, as without just remediation the flow of class actions would likely be relentless,” Mr Somerville said.
Mr Somerville said that the independent structure worked overseas and he would work with any banks that wanted to implement it.
“We will be engaging with the banks and encouraging them to embrace this model, which has worked well both here and overseas.”
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