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Banking & Finance Bulletins

The final Banking & Finance Quarterly Bulletin was published in March 2009. Bulletins provided updates on our activities and set out the Ombudsman’s approach to particular types of disputes. Below you will find most Bulletins from March 2000 onwards.

Our publication The Circular has replaced the Bulletin. If you'd like to be notified when a new Circular or Annual Review is published, please sign up to the Financial Ombudsman Service electronic mailing list.


Bulletin 61 - March 2009

  • Disaster Response
  • Legal Action and Disputes Lodged with the Financial Ombudsman Service
  • Responding to Requests for Information
  • Chargebacks – Recent Case Studies
  • Submissions on the Proposed Terms of Reference
  • Financial Ombudsman Service Conference 11 – 12 June 2009


Bulletin 60 - December 2008

  • Breaking a Fixed Rate Loan – our approach to break costs
  • Direct Debits on Transaction Accounts
  • Maladministration and Secured Lending
  • Dealing with Customers in Financial Difficulty

The financial markets globally have changed significantly since our last Bulletin in September 2008. This Bulletin deals with a number of issues that are the subjects of disputes lodged with this office by disputants affected by the consequences of the economic downturn.


Bulletin 59 - September 2008

  • The Impact of the EFT Code on PIN@POS and MOTO Transactions

Reference document: BFSO Policy and Procedures Manual (Extract)


Bulletin 58 - June 2008

In this Bulletin:

Bank Surveys and Good Banking Practice

  • Mandate for Change of Signing Authority on Accounts
  • Withdrawal Instructions Presented by a Third Party
  • Guarantor and Third Party Income in Credit Assessments

Guide to the FOS Banking & Finance Division Terms of Reference

Out With the Old – In With the New!


Bulletin 57 - March 2008

In this Bulletin:

Credit listings

  • Listing without prior warning
  • Listing amounts less than 60 days overdue
  • Providing accurate information to customers

Recovery of enforcement costs

  • Entitlement to reasonable costs
  • Discounts and rebates
  • The effect of GST

Merger of External Dispute Resolution schemes

  • Update on proposed merger of EDR schemes


Bulletin 56 - December 2007

Since we published Bulletin 31 on Disability, Incapacity and Banking, there has been an increased focus on financial abuse of the vulnerable older person, or ‘elder financial abuse’ as it is often called.

In this Bulletin we provide:

  • An overview of the issue
  • A discussion about definitions of financial abuse
  • Information on understanding and identifying financial abuse
  • A summary of the legal framework: areas of potential liability for financial services providers
  • Case studies from disputes which have required investigation by our office
  • Information about training materials for bank staff which have been developed in North America

The purpose of Bulletin 56 is to provide information about financial abuse and how to identify it - to assist in raising awareness of the issue and to highlight some warning signs - and to put that information in the context of the interaction between banks and other financial institutions and their older customers.  We hope that it will also contribute to discussions about appropriate training programs and protocols for financial institution staff, and assist members of the BFSO scheme to review and build on their internal programs and manuals.


Bulletin 55 - September 2007

This Bulletin provides an update on the proposed merger of external dispute resolution schemes and a discussion of our views in relation to disclosure of a customer's information to government agencies. In addition, the Bulletin highlights a recent paper by Elisabeth Wentworth, Special Counsel to the Ombudsman, entitled Essential Banking Law and Practice.


Bulletin 54 - June 2007

Bulletin 54 reviews privacy-related disputes considered by BFSO since the introduction of the National Privacy Principles in December 2001 and discusses our approach to default and serious credit infringement listings made under Part IIIA of the Privacy Act 1988.  The bulletin also provides information about appropriate debt collection procedures where a debtor is bankrupt.


Bulletin 53 - March 2007

Bulletin 53 is a follow up to Bulletin 46 and provides further information on our approach to disputes involving customers in financial difficulty and the obligations on credit providers under the Code of Banking Practice and the UCCC.


Bulletin 52 - December 2006

Bulletin 52 provides information about the recent increase to our jurisdictional monetary limit and we have also outlined some common misunderstandings about legal rights and obligations that arise in the disputes we see.


Bulletin 51 - September 2006

Bulletin 51 deals with:

  • How BFSO participates in national and international exchanges of ideas and information about the provision of alternative dispute resolution services
  • Highlights the recent International Alternative Dispute Resolution Conference held in Australia and discusses the objects of the Australian and New Zealand Ombudsman Association
  • There is also an extract of a presentation to the International Alternative Dispute Resolution Conference about the causes of systemic issues investigated by BFSO


Bulletin 50 - June 2006

Bulletin 50 deals with Unsecured Credit and Maladministration and Systemic Issues: Concurrent Investigations. The topics discussed include:

  • Credit Card Lending
  • Personal Loans
  • Maladministration and Unconscionable Conduct
  • Maladministration and Customers in Financial Difficulty
  • Systemic Issues and Concurrent BFSO and ASIC investigations


Bulletin 49 - March 2006

Bulletin 49 includes details of issues under consideration by BFSO and three findings.


Bulletin 48 - December 2005

Bulletin 48 includes a report on the implementation of the recommendations made as part of the independent review of the BFSO commissioned by the BFSO Board in May 2004. As part of the implementation process we are publishing for the first time selected decisions to illustrate the detailed level of investigation we undertake before a decision is reached about the merits of a dispute. Three Findings have been included in this Bulletin. These have been edited for external publication and the parties de-identified.


Bulletin 47 - October 2005

Bulletin 47 discusses the new ACCC/ASIC Debt Guideline issued this month. The Bulletin highlights some areas of debt collection practice that we have recently considered and which are referred to in the Guideline.


Bulletin 46 - June 2005

In Bulletin 46:

  • Dealing with customers in financial difficulty
  • Guide to searching for unclaimed monies


Bulletin 45 - March 2005

In Bulletin 45:

  • Role of the Ombudsman
  • Ombudsman's Approach to Disputes about Maladministration and Credit Card Limits
  • Section 70 UCCC and section 7 Contracts Review Act
  • Other Considerations


Bulletin 44 - December 2004

In Bulletin 44:

  • Change of jurisdictional limit to $250,000 from 1 December 2004
  • Independent Review of the Banking and Financial Services Ombudsman Scheme
  • Foreign currency transactions


Bulletin 43 - September 2004

In Bulletin 43:

  • Credit Card Electronic Payment Systems - Issues for financial service providers
  • A discussion of issues for financial service providers arising from the use of credit card and electronic payment systems by small business merchants
  • Proportionate Liability for Misleading Conduct
  • New Chairman of the Board of BFSO Limited


Bulletin 42 - June 2004

In Bulletin 42:

  • Independent review of the Banking and Financial Services Ombudsman Scheme
  • Costs associated with mortgagee sales
  • UN Forum on online dispute resolution


Bulletin 41 - March 2004

Bulletin 41 discusses a range of issues to do with disability and incapacity including:

  • changes to the form and content of enduring powers of attorney in Victoria;
  • inappropriate reliance on privacy principles when dealing with statutory authorities; and
  • opening of accounts by administrators.

The bulletin also includes a case study of a recently resolved case on merchant fraud as part of an update to Bulletin 40 and a discussion about the application of privacy principles to the situation where ID is required from a person cashing a cheque.


Bulletin 40 - December 2003

  • Bulletin 40 discusses Online and Offline Credit Card Fraud: hazards for small business


Bulletin 39 - September 2003

  • Banking & Financial Services Ombudsman Limited
  • New Code of Banking Practice

Supplementary Bulletin

  • Emerging Issues in Electronic Banking Dispute Resolution
  • Banking & Financial Services Ombudsman discussion forum outcomes


Bulletin 38 - June 2003

Special Bulletin - Mortgagee Sales

  • Summarises the duties owed by Mortgagees
  • Discusses aspects of mortgagee sales including advertising, ascertaining market value and the manner and management of sales
  • Questions we consider when investigating a dispute about mortgagee sales

Supplementary Bulletin

  • Emerging issues in Electronic Banking Dispute Resolution
  • Fairness in Debt Recovery
  • Bank Record Keeping Survey


Bulletin 37 - March 2003

  • Conducting investigations into EFT Code complaints - a practical guide
  • The onus of proof in the EFT Code - its legal meaning


Bulletin 36 - December 2002

  • Agency of brokers - update of approach
  • Native title claims and bank lending policies
  • EFT disputes and financial hardship
  • Issues featured in our Bulletins this year


Bulletin 35 - September 2002

  • Electronic Commerce: Emerging Issues in Electronic Banking Disputes
  • Includes Bulletin 35 Appendix


Bulletin 34 - June 2002

  • Collection Issues: Sales of Debts, Credit Reporting and Mortgagee Sales
  • Financial Services Consumer Helpline


Bulletin 31 - October 2001

  • Disability, Incapacity and Banking Issues


Bulletin 29 - October 2001

  • Direct Debits


Bulletin 25 - June 2000

  • Complaints about Old/Misplaced Passbooks and Term Deposit Accounts


Bulletin 24 - March 2000

  • Code of Operation for Department of Social Security Direct Credit Payments