Savings account funds seized by debtors

ANZ Bank may have breached consumer guidelines by harassing debtors and seizing money from their accounts, it has been revealed.

Confidential bank files, obtained by the Sydney Morning Herald, show numerous cases where ANZ's debt collections department may have broken consumer laws and industry guidelines, the newspaper said.

This includes one instance where a debtor had more than $1,500 frozen in his savings account by an ANZ staff member, despite telling the bank he would be evicted.

Such a practice is contrary to guidelines which aim to ban the practice of seizing lump sums from accounts belonging to financially disadvantaged debtors whose other accounts are in arrears.

In another case, an ANZ debt collector planned to take the ''full balance'' of a debtor's personal account despite a promise by the debtor to make repayments, the Sydney Morning Herald said.

These revelations may interest people looking to compare savings accounts in search of the best options. An ANZ spokesperson denied that such practices were systemic in the bank but conceded that its debt collectors had breached ''compliance obligations'' in ''a small number of isolated cases''.

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