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.
Catherine joined the Westpac Group in January 2021 as Director, Customer Vulnerability & Financial Resilience.
Prior to joining Westpac, Catherine spent seven years at Commonwealth Bank in various positions leading the community and customer vulnerability, complaints and government and industry affairs teams. Catherine began her career in journalism and has traversed politics, not-for-profit and the private sector in customer and corporate affairs roles.
Catherine has a passion for giving a voice to the voiceless and catalysing systemic change to improve customer and community outcomes. In 2018 she was recognised as an AFR Qantas 100 Women of Influence for leadership of Commonwealth bank’s domestic violence program.
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.
Brendan is CBA’s Executive General Manager, Customer and Community Advocacy.
Prior to joining CommBank, Brendan lectured at the School of Law, Western Sydney University, and published widely, including the standard text Resolving Conflict (Oxford University Press, 2009).
Brendan has a PhD in the History of Ideas and has worked as an ombudsman, academic, board director, author and consultant.
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.
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.
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.