The ABA is committed to improving customer outcomes for all customers.
The Consumer Outcomes Group (COG) is the ABA’s forum for banks and consumer groups to work collaboratively on existing and emerging issues.
The group consists of seven bank representatives and seven consumer representatives. Each year specific projects are prioritised by the group, to work on collaboratively to improve customer outcomes. Projects could include: joint advocacy, development of guidance or factsheets, joint development of customer support programs, and changes to bank practices.
Much, but not all, of the work done by the group focuses on issues impacting customers experiencing vulnerability.
The Consumer Federation of Australia nominates the seven consumer representatives who sit on the COG.
The ABA is also engaged with other work to improve customer outcomes, particularly for customers experiencing vulnerability, and will seek feedback on this work from COG consumer representatives and other specialist consumer advocates.
Examples of things the ABA has worked on with consumer groups include:
Customers who deferred their loans as part of a COVID-19 assistance offering will not have missed repayments reflected on their credit report. This was an industry first, ensuring customers were not unduly impacted by the crisis.
Communication During Foreclosure
Development of a factsheet to to establish how banks will communicate with residents who are not their customers (including tenants and family members) during a foreclosure.
Work on support for customers with limited English and LGBTQIA+ customers
Resulting in enshrined protections for these customers in the upcoming Banking Code.
Adrian was appointed the inaugural Customer Advocate for the Westpac Group in November 2016.
Adrian represents customers and is independent of Westpac Group’s business units.
Prior to joining the Westpac Group Adrian was a lawyer for more than 30 years, most recently as a partner at international law firm, Norton Rose Fulbright, where he held various roles including Global Chairman.
Tania joined Consumer Action in 2022 after decades of experience advocating and driving social change and an extensive track record in delivering impact relating to industrial relations and employment law, human rights and discrimination law, family law and family violence legal and justice systems. Tania’s background is in legal, advocacy and dispute resolution. She has worked in a diverse range of organisations including NGOs, federal and state governments, trade unions and universities throughout Australia and the UK. Tania is a sensitive listener to her team and those around her. She has a strong history of using ‘positive disruption’ to successfully resolve complex, politically sensitive disputes and problems that exhibit volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.
Will is an Executive at Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, having practiced as a lawyer for more than 20 years. He has very broad experience across the Bank including Legal, Secretariat, Strategy / M&A, Treasury, Compliance, Operations, Risk and Internal Audit. He also represents the Bank on several Boards and Committees. Will is based in Bendigo where he lives with his wife and three sons.
Bettina Cooper is an Aboriginal woman of the Boandik (Bo-Ann-Dik) works in Mob Strong Debt Help, a First Nations led program within Financial Rights Legal Centre, as a Financial Counsellor and Strategy Lead. Bettina has a dual role as the Campaign Coordinator for the Save Sorry Business Coalition fighting for the victims of Youpla to receive a fair and culturally appropriate and timely resolution. Bettina has extensive experience advocating for people who are disadvantaged as a result of language, literacy skills, geographical isolation, low income, disability, trauma or related factors. Bettina also serves as the Chair of the FCAN Yarning Circle as a member of the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) Customer Consultative Group, Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) Consumer Consultative Panel and on the Australian Banking Association (ABA) Consumer Outcomes Group.
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
Roberta is the Principal Solicitor at Consumer Credit Legal Service WA. Since joining the team at CCLS she has assisted many vulnerable consumers successfully pursue claims against financial service providers. Roberta takes a lead role in CCLS’ law reform submissions and stakeholder engagements in the belief that it is the role of consumer advocates to speak up for those who do not have the knowledge, resources, or capacity to advocate for themselves.
Roberta joined the Financial Counsellors’ Association of WA Board in 2021. She is also sits on a number of national and state consumer advisory committees including the Law Council of Australia Consumer Law Committee, WA’s Department of Mines, Industry Regulation Safety Consumer Advisory Committee and the Australian Financial Complaints Authority Consumer Advisory Panel.
Roberta has studied at the University of Sydney, the National University of Ireland, Galway, and the University of Western Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Law Degree. Prior to relocating to Perth, Roberta worked in private practice in Ireland, specialising in property and banking.
Ben was appointed as the BOQ Group Customer Advocate in April 2022. Ben and his team operate independently from BOQ’s business units, representing customers to ensure they are listened to, understood and treated fairly.
Prior to joining BOQ, Ben held senior leadership roles in the financial services industry with a focus on customer advocacy and vulnerability. Ben has also served as independent chairperson and non-executive director of a Queensland community housing organisation and is a regular contributor to community forums that support vulnerable Australians.
More information about the purpose of BOQ’s Office of the Customer Advocate is available here.
Evelyn Halls was appointed as ANZ’s Customer Fairness Advisor in March 2022. Evelyn has senior executive responsibility to help guide and inform ANZ’s decision making on the fairness of the bank’s products and services for retail and small business customers.
Prior to joining ANZ, Evelyn was the Lead Ombudsman – Banking and Finance at the Australian Financial Complaints Authority. She was previously a partner at international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills where she advised corporate and government clients on a wide range of transactional and governance matters.
Ms Halls is also a two-time Olympian and Vice-President of the Australian Olympic Committee, and is currently a member of the IOC’s Athletes Entourage Commission and Athletics Australia’s Ethics & Integrity Commission. She was previously an Integrity Commissioner for Cricket Victoria.
Paul Holmes is the National Legal Aid Representative on the ABA Consumer Outcomes Group. For the past 16 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 is currently a Principal Lawyer 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 APRA Consumer Liaison Forum, the General Insurance Code Governance Committee Association, the Chair of the Qld Disaster Legal Assistance Working Group and a member of the Qld ASIC Consumer Regulator Forum.
Corey Irlam is the Deputy Chief Executive for COTA Australia with responsibilities for Government Relations, Special Projects, Advocacy and Communications.
Corey has been with COTA since April 2013 working in the National Aged Care Alliance’s Aged Care Reform Secretariat first as Principal Policy Officer and later as the Aged Care Reform Policy Manager, later working in broader COTA policy areas as Director, Advocacy and Government Relations.
Corey has a Masters in Public Policy and a Masters in Business Administration. He has worked for a range of state and national organisations focused on improving the health and human rights of various populations.
Krissie Jones is Executive of Retail at NAB, where she and her team of 3000 people across 480 branches, help customers achieve their financial goals.
Along with support of Retail customers, Krissie also has executive accountability of NAB’s Mass Affluent customer segment.
Krissie has more than 25 years of banking experience in Retail, Commercial and Wealth Management. Krissie joined NAB in 2017. Prior to this Krissie was with ANZ for 20 years and held a number of executive roles across the bank including Products, Distribution and Operations. This included positions in Melbourne, Brisbane, Bangalore and India.
Krissie holds a Batchelor in Business (International Trade), a Graduate Diploma of Management and is a fellow of the Australia institute of Company Directors.
Born in Melbourne, she is married with three children.
Angela has been the Commonwealth Bank Group’s Customer Advocate since September 2019. Supported by the Office of the Customer Advocate, Angela uses an independent and community-informed voice to help the Group to identify, address and prevent poor customer outcomes. More information about Angela’s role as the Commonwealth Bank Group Customer Advocate can be found here.
Angela co-chairs Unity, the Commonwealth Bank’s LGBTI+ employee network, which advocates for a culture of inclusion and respect regardless of sexuality, gender and expression across the organisation and broader communities.
Angela has also sat on the board of One Door Mental Health, a leading mental health service provider specialising in severe and persistent mental illnesses, since 2020.
Matthew has been working in the community legal sector for eight years with a strong focus on debt and financial services, including expertise in mortgages, consumer credit and general insurance. He holds positions on consumer advisory committees of the Australian Banking Association, Insurance Council of Australia, Australian Financial Complaints Authority, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, and Insurance Australia Group. Matthew loves to create change to help improve the lives of our fellow humans and take a compassionate approach to the law and advocacy.