Australian Regulator Takes Westpac to Court over Multiple Compliance Failures

Australian securities regulator said on Tuesday it has filed six civil penalty proceedings against Westpac Banking Corp., the country's third-largest bank, alleging widespread compliance failures across its business over many years, Reuters reported. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), in a statement, alleged multiple Westpac brands were involved in fees-for-no-service, distribution of duplicate insurance policies and sale of credit card and flexi-loan debt with incorrect interest rates, among others. "The conduct and breaches alleged in these proceedings caused widespread consumer harm and ranged across Westpac's everyday banking, financial advice, superannuation and insurance businesses," ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court said. "Westpac must urgently improve its systems and culture to ensure these systemic failures do not continue." The allegations were made against Westpac's banking, superannuation, wealth management and its now divested general insurance businesses. Westpac has admitted the allegations in each of the proceedings and will remediate about A$80 million ($57.06 million) to customers, ASIC said. Read more.