AMP Bank announces strengthened protections for customers at risk of financial abuse and experiencing vulnerability.
The updated terms and conditions for loans and accounts of existing and new customers give AMP Bank greater ability to support customers when the use of its products and services is inappropriate. This includes facilitating the closure of accounts, blocking transactions, cancelling cards and/or access methods and restricting accounts to protect another person.
Where it is believed a joint account holder is experiencing financial difficulty and has a pressing financial need, the new authority also enables AMP Bank to act on requests made by that person to prevent or reduce the financial hardship they may experience.
In addition, AMP Bank is one of few banks in Australia to offer independently held offset accounts for home loans. This allows borrowers to maintain separate offset accounts, while benefiting from the combined offset account values to reduce interest payments. This provides greater financial independence for couples and joint property owners who prefer to keep their finances separate.
Helping stop financial abuse
The Centre for Women’s Economic Safety (CWES), together with Designed to Disrupt author and Adjunct Associate Professor at UNSW School of Social Sciences, Catherine Fitzpatrick, have welcomed AMP Bank’s updated terms and conditions, believing it sends a clear message that financial abuse will not be tolerated.
In its Designed to Disrupt report, the CWES called on all Australian banks to redesign products to improve financial safety. It called for banks to start by changing their terms and conditions to make it clear that a bank account is no place for abuse, and that they will take action against customers who misuse their products to cause harm.
Sean O’Malley, Group Executive AMP Bank said:
“It’s important banks incorporate safety features into their products and services and continue to work with industry and authorities to raise awareness about abuse and do all we can to prevent it from happening.
“There is an opportunity for our industry to continue to innovate and iterate the design of financial products to increase financial safety.
“Particularly at this time of year, we’re sensitive to the impact Christmas and end of year fatigue and commitments can have on family dynamics, increasing customer vulnerability.
“AMP Bank will continue to build on our support mechanisms and resources for customers, our broker and adviser partners, and the community.”
Rebecca Glenn, CEO Centre for Women’s Economic Safety said:
“We welcome AMP Bank’s updates to its terms and conditions, joining the ranks of Australian financial institutions who are making it harder for perpetrators to use financial abuse as a tactic of coercive control.
“Few other businesses are better placed to protect women against financial abuse and its devastating health and economic impacts for them and their children.”
Catherine Fitzpatrick, Adjunct Associate Professor at UNSW School of Social Sciences, Founder and Director, Flequity said:
“This is globally leading action from Australian banks which directly addresses one of the key drivers of gendered violence. Tens of millions of customers have been told banks won’t condone disrespectful and controlling behaviour, and they’ll change their practices to explicitly forbid and censure it. Never has it been more important.”
About the Centre for Women’s Economic Safety
The CWES is committed to raising awareness and improving understanding of economic abuse, with numerous online resources available, including providing free Money Clinics for women experiencing financial and economic abuse or who are concerned about their finances in the context of domestic and family violence.
For more information about CWES visit cwes.org.au.
CWES’ latest report, ‘Action on financial abuse and banking 12-month snapshot’ can be accessed here.
Find out more about AMP’s support and resources at amp.com.au/support/customer-vulnerability.