The banking ombudsman system has received a number of complaints, including 72 this year, regarding the accounts of deceased customers. Photo / File
More than 70 complaints about the way banks handle the accounts of deceased customers have been lodged this year with the banking ombudsman.
The figure was revealed to the Herald after several widows said common credit cards and accounts shared with their husbands were cut off without warning after their deaths, leaving some women in tears.
ANZ, ASB and Westpac have all apologized for providing poor service to the women.
Grieving retiree Gabrielle O’Callaghan lost access to her money after Westpac Bank removed her credit card and closed an account after her husband died.
The West Bank apologized and said it “highlights a flaw in the way we deal with our deceased estates.”
Four other widows told the Herald about the difficulty they had creating their own credit cards after their community cards were canceled.
“It is a really difficult and stressful time when people are grieving and hearing these stories is of great concern,” said banking mediator Nicola Sladden.
“We would all like it to be easier for people under these circumstances.”
Estates from dead customers are a difficult problem, Sladden said, and she urges everyone to contact the Ombudsman for guidance through the process or to contact the right person at their bank.
“There is no doubt that when a person is going through a stressful experience, they need extra support. The last thing they need is to overcome these obstacles and challenges,” she told the Herald .
“We want to try to help and support people in an already stressful time.”
The Ombudsman has received complaints about the freezing of accounts by banks when a person dies, Sladden said, which can be difficult when a partner tries to make funeral arrangements for their loved one.
Complaints are often made by family members who cannot access information about the person’s estate after their death, Sladden said.
This is an emerging trend that Sladden wants banks to tackle.
“Banks need to treat their customers fairly, and that includes helping them – when their loved ones have passed away – to get through an undoubtedly stressful time.”
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This notice was published: 2021-05-23 06:21:12