April 7 (Reuters) - An Australian court fined top lender
Commonwealth Bank of Australia A$7 million ($5.36
million) for overcharging interest in a case stemming from a
gruelling financial sector inquiry, the country's securities
regulator said on Wednesday.
CBA was found to have misled customers and overcharged
interest by more than A$2.2 million over a three-year period by
the federal court in February.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
had sought a A$7 million fine, while CBA made submissions for a
penalty of A$4 million to A$5 million.
"CBA's delay in remediating customers following this error
was an aggravating factor in the Court's determination of the
penalty," ASIC Commissioner Sean Hughes said. (https://bit.ly/2Q4no3e)
Customers were charged an interest rate higher than advised
on more than 12,000 occasions, according to the case filed by
ASIC in December.
Financial firms in Australia have faced numerous class
actions and penalties over the past two years after a Royal
Commission inquiry into the sector found widespread misconduct,
including charging fees to dead people.
A CBA spokesperson acknowledged the penalty, adding that the
bank had sent refunds to 2,269 customers totalling A$3.74
"Failures of this sort are unacceptable and we apologise to
those customers who at the time were overcharged fees," the
($1 = 1.3063 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh
Kuber and Shounak Dasgupta)