Major banks 'are treating struggling Aussies poorly'

It is no secret that many Australians are struggling to make ends meet at the moment, as the weak global economy continues to put individuals under immense pressure.

Sadly, a new survey conducted by the Financial and Consumer Rights Council (FCRC) has indicated that people are getting very little help from their banks.

The study showed that the nation's major banks are the worst offenders when it comes to treating struggling customers poorly.

A lot of people need help to keep their bank accounts in the black, but it seems that financial institutions are doing little to ease their financial problems.

The Rank the Bank survey suggested that Victorians who are finding it hard to make repayments are far from impressed with the attitude of their service provider and many feel that levels of communication are unsatisfactory.

Peter Gartlan – executive officer at the FCRC – believes banks need to improve their responses to people who are suffering from financial hardship.

"The way the banks respond to their customers struggling to make repayments can often make or break a family's path to financial recovery," he remarked, before adding: "The Rank the Bank report clearly identifies areas for improvement for the banks' hardship policies and procedures and we look forward to working with them to achieve better customer outcomes, which we see as a win/win."

Members of the FCRC reiterated the fact that anybody can suddenly fall on hard times.

Although you may be comfortable at the moment, it only takes a sudden job loss, relationship breakdown or illness to thrust a person into financial turmoil.

That said, there are certain demographics that are more likely to struggle than others, as shown by a recent survey undertaken by Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia.

It indicated that men aged between 40 and 44 are the most likely to become bankrupt and the most common cause of personal insolvency is "unemployment or loss of income".

However, the study also confirmed that 48 per cent of all bankruptcy cases involved people who earn in excess of $30,000 a year, which goes to show just how easy it is for people to slip into a downward spiral of debt.

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