The Consumer Outcomes Group is a forum dedicated to improving customer outcomes in retail banking.
The Group is a joint bank and consumer representative forum with membership made up of seven representatives from consumer groups and seven representatives from member banks and meets quarterly to discuss and respond to existing and emerging issues.
The Group’s Terms of Reference are available here.
Membership of the Consumer Outcomes Group
Rachna came to financial counselling in 2011 after a career in retail banking. She is a financial counsellor currently working as the Senior Practitioner, Financial Wellbeing Program, at South East Community Links (SECL).
Rachna works with people experiencing financial difficulty from a range of cultural backgrounds who have been impacted by unemployment, living on a low income, family violence, gambling and other life events.
Rachna is on the SECL board as a Staff representative and is a former member of the Financial Ombudsman Service- Consumer Liaison Group as a consumer representative.
Rachna has a Masters in Business (Swinburne University of Technology), and a Dip. Community Services (Financial Counselling).
Gerard is CEO of the Consumer Action Law Centre, an independent, not-for-profit consumer organisation based in Melbourne. Consumer Action provides financial counselling, legal advice and representation to support vulnerable and disadvantaged Victorian consumers, and draws on its direct knowledge of the consumer experience in modern markets to pursue consumer interest campaigns and policy reform at both state and national levels.
Gerard is also the Chair of Consumers’ Federation of Australia, the peak body for consumer organisations in Australia, representing a diverse range of consumer groups, including most national consumer organisations.
Carolyn was appointed as Westpac’s Group Executive responsible for customer and corporate relations in May 2018 and is also, the executive responsible for overseeing the Group’s Culture, Governance and Accountability Program.
Carolyn joined the Westpac Group in 2013, as General Manager, Corporate Affairs and Sustainability, during which time she played an instrumental role in leading the Group’s bicentenary program, including the launch of the $100 million Westpac Bicentennial Foundation.
Prior to joining Westpac, Carolyn spent 13 years at Insurance Australia Group in various positions, including Group General Manager, Corporate Affairs & Investor Relations. Carolyn began her career in consulting and has extensive in-house and consulting experience in financial services.
Karen Cox has been involved in the community law movement for nearly three decades. Karen began at the Campbelltown Legal Centre in 1991, specialising in supporting and assisting vulnerable women, especially in relation to domestic violence and related issues.
Karen is now CEO of Financial Rights Legal Centre, where she has been employed in various roles since 2000, and was called as the first witness at the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry to provide an overview of the problems faced by consumers. She is a current member of ASIC’s and AFCA’s Consumer Advisory Panels.
Catherine Fitzpatrick is a former journalist and political adviser with more than 20 years’ experience in customer, stakeholder and issues management across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.
She currently heads the Commonwealth Bank’s Group Customer Relations team which is responsible for resolving complex customer complaints.
Catherine started her career as a journalist at the West Australian newspaper and its subsidiaries, where she was awarded for her reportage on equal opportunity issues. She moved into politics as a media adviser to the Federal Attorney-General and then Defence Minister in the Howard Government.
Following politics, she worked for UNICEF Australia, where she conceived and delivered the Designers United campaign to raise money for women and children affected by HIV. She then joined the Leighton Group (now Cimic) where she led various programs of work relating to risk, diversity, sustainability and government relations.
Catherine holds a number of external advisory board and internal gender diversity leadership positions:
- Member of the NSW Corporate Leadership Group on Domestic and Family Violence which advises the Government on opportunities for private sector, community and government partnership and collaboration
- Member of Commonwealth Bank’s gender diversity steering group, co-chair of the Women Can working group and chair of CBA’s domestic violence working group
- Catherine is also a former director of the Diversity Council Australia, deputy chair of the NSW Council for Women’s Economic Opportunity and former member of the NSW State Advisory Council of the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia (CEDA).
As a descendant of the Wangkumara people of far west NSW, Lynda is a passionate advocate for financial inclusion, fairness and financial resilience for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia.
After more than a decade in the finance sector, she joined the consumer advocacy movement as program manager at CentaCare Wilcannia-Forbes, she was involved with projects that delivered financial literacy and awareness and advocated for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including in the Do Not Knock campaign and superannuation and funeral insurance products.
Lynda has completed the Diploma of Financial Counselling and has been involved with consultation groups around Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander financial literacy, the Commonwealth Consumer Affairs Advisory Council, Indigenous Financial Services Network, Indigenous Financial Resilience Research Project with First Nations Foundation, Australian Council for International Development and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Financial Literacy Forum, which is now in its 10th year
Mike Norfolk joined ANZ from Coutts and Co., the Wealth Division of Royal Bank of Scotland in 2014. Mr Norfolk was Head of Private Banking at Coutts and Co. since March 2011, responsible for driving business improvement across the UK and selected international locations. He also held several senior leadership roles with Coutts between 1998 and 2010, responsible for leading large teams to drive long term sustainable growth in the UK wealth management business.
Paul Holmes is the National Legal Aid Representative on the ABA Consumer Outcomes Group. For the past 10 years, Paul has worked as a Senior Lawyer and Consumer Advocate in the Consumer Protection Unit of Civil Justice Services at Legal Aid Queensland.
Paul’s work focuses on assisting consumers in vulnerable circumstances who have legal problems with their mortgages, personal loans, car loans, credit cards, small amount loans, consumer lease, insurance products, telecommunications and other essential services.
Paul is also passionate about improving consumers’ knowledge of their rights under banking and finance and insurance products through community education and is heavily involved in Legal Aid Queensland’s Community Legal Education program.
Paul is a current member of the ICA Consumer Liaison Forum, the FOS Consumer Liaison Group and is the current Chair of the General Insurance Code Governance Committee Association.
Norm is the Head of Customer Care, NAB Assist. He has been in the Financial Services sector since 1988, and has held senior management roles right across the National Australia Bank (NAB) but considers his most rewarding roles to have been in the Direct Banking Call Centre, running Retail Branches, Mobile Bankers and his time in Project Services developing products and services to make, in his own words, ‘NAB customers’ existences a little better each day’.
Michelle started as Suncorp’s Group Customer Advocate in August 2020, having held numerous positions in the Legal and Risk areas since joining Suncorp in 2003.
Prior to her current role, Michelle was the Executive General Manager, Compliance & Regulatory Affairs, where she championed the ongoing focus on compliance capability and capacity across Suncorp.
She was also the executive responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR) and the Conduct Risk and Risk Culture Programs. All these initiatives centred around establishing the right governance, accountability and risk practices to enable Suncorp to deliver value to its customers.
Michelle is passionate about purpose led leadership, championing great outcomes for customers and advocating with industry on key issue that impact our community.
Gemma Mitchell is the Managing Solicitor at Consumer Credit Legal Service (WA) Inc. In 2007, Gemma migrated from England to study law at the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle, where she graduated with Honours. Gemma also holds a BSc (Hons) in Psychology from the University of Wolverhampton. After graduating in 2009, Gemma worked for a boutique commercial law firm in the Perth CBD, before joining CCLSWA as a solicitor in October 2013.
Gemma commenced as Principal Solicitor of CCLSWA in August 2016 and became Managing Solicitor in July 2017.
Gemma is a member of The Law Society of WA and Women Lawyers of WA.
Gemma believes that access to high quality legal services should be available to all members of the community.
Since joining Bendigo and Adelaide Bank in 1987, Robert has held a wide and varied range of positions across the Group, from Customer Service Officer to playing a pivotal role in the development and expansion of the Community Bank® model. Robert is currently Executive Corporate and Public Affairs with responsibility for shaping and maximising the Bank’s position through external communications and championing its point of difference to all stakeholder groups. From 2006 Robert managed key innovative partnerships for the Bank before moving into the role of Head of Group Strategy in 2009. Robert joined the Bank’s executive team in 2013.
Ayela has been Head of Customer Advocacy for HSBC Bank Australia since 2019 where her role is to make sure the customer’s best interests are considered in decision making and that customers receive fair and suitable outcomes. Prior to joining HSBC, she was Customer & Reputation Advocate for the Bupa Australia & New Zealand business.
With her background as a corporate lawyer in private and in-house practice she joined MBF Legal department in 2014 where she represented MBF group in industry consultations with government and regulators during the reform of private health insurance regulation in 2007.
Following the Bupa merger in 2008, Ayela was appointed Head of Health Policy & Regulatory Relations becoming Head of Bupa’s Government, Policy & Regulatory Affairs function in 2012
Ian Yates is Chief Executive of COTA Australia, the national peak body for COTAs (Councils on the Ageing) in each State and Territory of Australia. Ian was appointed CE of COTA SA in June 1989 and has played national leadership roles in COTA since 2002.
Ian serves on a wide variety of federal government and aged care sector national bodies. He is a member of the Federal Government’s Aged Care Financing Authority; a member of the Aged Care Sector Committee; a member of the Aged Care Quality Advisory Council; and a member of the Private Health Insurance Ministerial Advisory Council. Ian is the COTA representative on the National Aged Care Alliance and its Sponsors Group.