Corporate and Social Responsibility
We’re a local bank – by Victorians, for Victorians. We aim to build our reputation on delivering a better banking experience and supporting you and the local neighbourhoods in which we operate. We’re always looking at how we can improve our products and services and to identify and respond to issues that are important to you and our community. To ensure we are aware and informed about emerging trends, concerns and current issues, we are involved and seek feedback through consultative councils, committees and forums, online feedback, research and by tracking complaints. This allows us to provide you with better, more relevant banking solutions.
Putting you first
We genuinely believe that no one understands Victorians better than the people who live here and are committed to taking the time to get to know you as a person and not a series of accounts. To demonstrate our commitment, we have a number of initiatives currently in place:
Customer security: With our leading-edge, industry standard technology and processes designed to detect potential fraudulent transactions, we guard and protect your accounts against fraud every second of the day, every day of the year.
Helping hearing and vision impaired customers: For our hearing-impaired customers, we provide a variety of accessibility options including text telephone (TTY) facilities, links to the National Relay Service and access to interpreters through various state organisations. For our vision-impaired customers, our internet banking service is compatible with screen reading software, and a large number of our ATMs are equipped with tactile keypads and text-to-voice capability.
Discounted banking for neighbourhood groups: We have a range of products for our customers with different needs including discounted banking for pensioner account holders, physically and mentally challenged customers, concession cardholders, not-for-profit organisations, children and students from primary all the way through to Tertiary, plus specialised services for our rural customers.
Multi-lingual ATMs: As a diverse state embracing the many different cultures and languages, we’ve installed Korean, Italian, simplified and traditional Chinese, Filipino and Vietnamese options across our ATM network. So our ATMs are easy for you to use – no matter what language you speak.
Resolving complaints quickly and fairly: Better banking is our priority. So we believe in taking time to get to know you as a person, not a series of accounts or transactions. We genuinely want to hear from you, whether you have a compliment, a complaint or suggestions on how we can deliver a better banking experience for Victorians. We have established procedures for registering issues and ensuring you are kept updated every step of the way.
Responsible banking At Bank of Melbourne, responsible banking means helping our local customers and contributing to our local neighbourhoods. This includes creating opportunities to educate our customers and the local neighbourhoods about financial literacy to help them understand and manage their finances. Our Principles in doing business also outlines our policies and practices we have in place to demonstrate that we are responsible in the way we lend money to our customers.
SENSE: Our Bank of Melbourne SENSE is a budget and savings account that's designed to assist you better manage your money and establish good budgeting and savings behaviour. The two accounts, SENSE Everyday transaction account and SENSE Savings account are combined on one easy-to-read statement each month. The accounts enable you to set savings targets, establishing how much and how often you want to transfer money from your transaction account into your savings account. The monthly statement charts your expenses, compares your spending habits over the each month and tracks your savings progress.
Customers facing financial hardship: We want to be your local bank supporting you in good times and bad. The Bank of Melbourne Assist Team is dedicated to finding solutions for you should you ever face financial hardship. Our team is experienced in assessing the situation and providing information and solutions to help you customers manage your financial obligations with us. All options and alternatives are identified and considered, and a solution is tailored to suit you. You’ll be presented and able to choose which option best suits you.
The way people borrow and save is always changing. We acknowledge our obligation to stay in touch with our local customer and neighbourhood expectations and we are committed to marketing our products responsibly
As part of the Westpac Group, we comply with the Principles for Doing Business which forms the foundation of our commitment to responsible lending. The Principles can be found on the Westpac Website and include:
We seek to lend only what our customers can afford to repay.
This means that as well as our own credit assessment policies we comply with relevant legislation, Code of Banking Practice, and relevant guidelines published by the Banking and Financial Services Ombudsman.
It also means we follow a strict loan criteria process. We use credit scoring, credit reference agency checking and affordability verification to make a full assessment of a person's capacity to repay. We allocate credit authority based on skills and experience and give customers the information they need to make confident financial decisions.
We market our products and services responsibly.
We're committed to acting with integrity. We follow ethical and legal selling practices and give customers information that helps them make informed decisions about our products and services. We only offer credit card limit increases to customers on the basis of strict eligibility criteria and ensure all these offers come with an affordability statement, clarity on the new minimum payment required and options to lower existing or new credit limits. As a matter of policy, we exclude customers who receive government benefits as their sole income, those with a poor repayment history and those who've opted out of unsolicited contact. We continually monitor our credit assessment processes.
We support customers facing financial difficulty.
This means we encourage customers facing financial difficulty to talk to us directly. We treat every case individually and assist people to gain access to local, fee-free and independent financial counselling services. We encourage open discussion of issues and accept responsibility for managing issues that arise. This includes taking personal accountability for resolving issues that are brought to our attention.
Moreover we proactively contact customers who may be experiencing financial difficulty in managing their credit cards. And we provide relief to customers in difficulty as a result of natural disaster. This relief includes deferred payments, discounted refinancing and interest penalty waivers. We also offer deferred payment options (repayment holidays) for customers to help them deal with changing circumstances.
We help to improve our stakeholders' financial literacy and capability.
This means we're committed to providing public access to our money management, budgeting, saving, risk and spending educational materials. Those who can access these materials include schools, business and community groups. We are committed to giving people with disabilities, those living in remote locations and those from non-English speaking backgrounds access to our products and services.
We also support improved financial literacy and access to finance for the Indigenous community with our parent company's participation in programs such as the Indigenous Banking Reference Group and the Australian Financial Inclusion Network.
Government Guaranteed Deposits
Financial Claims Scheme for Authorised Deposit-Taking Institutions
The Financial Claims Scheme (FCS) is the Australian Government’s guarantee on deposits and is administered by APRA. The FCS guarantees deposits, up to a cap, held in Australian banks, building societies and credit unions (Authorised Deposit- taking Institutions or ADIs). It protects depositors by giving them quick access to their funds if an ADI becomes insolvent.
From 1 February 2012, the FCS guarantees deposits up to a cap of $250,000 per account-holder, per ADI. Special provisions apply to term deposits which existed on or before 10 September 2011.
The FCS applies to deposits held in Westpac Banking Corporation, including its Divisions - Bank of Melbourne, St.George Bank, BankSA, and those branded RAMS.
Like to know more?
- Visit APRA
- See APRA Financial Claims Scheme FAQs
- Alternatively, you can call APRA on 1300 55 88 49 (if calling from within Australia) or +61 2 9210 3480 (if calling from outside Australia).
Guidelines on family law proceedings
We recognise the difficulties for anyone, especially our customers, when they are involved in family law proceedings. Where those proceedings involve matrimonial property or financial obligations, those proceedings may involve us as your bank.
For example, where you have joint debts (such as credit cards, personal loans and home loans), and a jointly owned matrimonial home, the court may order us to release one of you from a joint debt. When the court makes such an order it will take into account our views on each spouse's individual capacity to repay the debt, and may seek further information on this from us.
If we receive such an order we will where appropriate, 're-originate' the debt. This means that if for example you have a home loan account in both of your names, that loan account may be closed, at which point the spouse who will be solely responsible for the debt will need to apply for a new replacement loan in his or her name only.
Alternatively in some circumstances the existing joint loan account may be able to be transferred into one of your names.
In circumstances where a court does not make such an order on the bank, and you want to transfer a joint debt into only one of your names, you will need our consent. Even if you both agree that only one of you will be responsible to repay the debt, we still have the right to require either or both of you to repay it (except of course where we have agreed to the change to who is liable to repay the debt or, a court has ordered us to relieve one of you of your obligation to repay the debt).
Guidelines for parties involved in family law proceedings
These guidelines aim to assist you with:
- Understanding what will happen if a court makes an order concerning a joint debt
- Applications for transfers of mortgage and consents to transfer of title
- Understanding how we enforce debts affected by a family law property settlement.
- The guidelines will assist you (our customers), your legal advisers and your representatives who may be involved with family law property proceedings. That may include agreements for division of property owned by you as a married couple, the division of your joint property that is subject to a mortgage to us, or of any other debts or liabilities you may jointly or individually owe to us.
In the guidelines, when we refer to a liability to us, we are referring to the liability to us of a borrower and/or of a guarantor:
- Guidelines Part A - For parties where the court has made an order on the bank
- Guidelines Part B - For parties where no court order has been made on the bank and the parties wish to transfer a debt into one name.