Australia’s top banks are to face
what is believed to be the largest class action in corporate
history after overchargingms of customers around A$5bn ($4.2bn) in
penalty and late fees over a six-year period.

IMF Australia, a litigation funder,
will pay for more than 10 class actions against the country’s banks
including the ‘Big Four’ – Commonwealth Bank, Australia and New
Zealand Banking Group, Westpac and National Australia Bank – in an
effort to retrieve millions in alleged wrongful and unfair

The Reserve Bank of Australia
revealed that banks charged “exception fees” of almost A$1.2bn in
2008, although no figures are available prior to this date.

Exception fees typically include
four types of penalties including unauthorised overdraft fees, late
payment fees and fees for cheques that bounce, and typically range
between A$25 and A$60 on each transaction.

Another seven Australian banks are expected to be targeted,
including Bank of Queensland, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, Suncorp,
HSBC and Citibank.