Financial safety front of mind this International Women’s Day

Financial safety front of mind this International Women’s Day

This International Women’s Day, the Australian Banking Association has reaffirmed the sector’s unwavering commitment to protecting women’s financial safety and security.

In Australia, one in six women will experience financial abuse over the course of their lifetime. The 2024 IWD theme “Count Her In” is an opportunity to talk about the types of financial abuse that women can face including:

  • controlling someone’s spending
  • stealing, taking, or ‘borrowing’ a person’s money, debit or credit cards, possessions or property without their knowledge or consent
  • limiting or denying a person access to their money or bank statements
  • forging someone’s signature, forcing them to sign a document or misleading them about the contents of the documents they are signing
  • pressuring another person to act as a co-borrower or guarantor for a loan/joint loan when they do not wish to do so.
  • making a person pay for another person’s expenses (e.g., where they share a home with another person and do not contribute to bills, maintenance, and other expenses despite being asked to do so).

“The banking industry recognises that financial abuse is a form of coercive control and can keep women locked-in violent and dangerous relationships,” said ABA CEO Anna Bligh.”

“Banks have taken action to stamp-out financial abuse, including training staff to spot red flags and referring customers to specialised support.

“Banks are also making it abundantly clear in their products that financial abuse won’t be tolerated and could lead to account suspensions or closures.”

13 Australian banks have now published new terms and conditions that make it clear financial abuse is unacceptable customer behavior, which may result in account suspension or closure.

Author of Design and Disrupt, Catherine Fitzpatrick said, “Tens of millions of customers have been told banks won’t condone disrespectful and controlling behaviour, and they’ll change their practices to explicitly forbid it.

“This is globally leading action from Australian banks which directly addresses one of the key drivers of gendered violence. Never has it been more important.”