ASIC takes majors to task on misleading ads

by Adam Smith18 Sep 2014
ASIC has slapped two major banks on the wrist over misleading advertising.

The regulator has announced both NAB and Westpac have paid infringement notices over potentially misleading statements in their advertising. ASIC alleged that NAB made misleading representations in a home loan campaign for its UBank arm.

The UBank home loan ads appeared in newspapers, radio and online, as well as in digital screens on escalators. ASIC expressed concern that certain details were not disclosed in a “clear and prominent manner”, including:
  • a minimum loan amount of $350,000
  • a requirement to use an electronic settlement process (known as FASTRefi) for refinanced loans
  • all documents to be provided within five days, and
  • a cap on the number of consumers eligible to receive the offer.
As a result, NAB has paid $40,800 in penalties over the ads.

Meanwhile, ASIC took Westpac to task over product disclosure statements for its Westpac Annuity Deposit product. ASIC said the PDS represented that the interest rate for the product was calculated on the principal amount invested, when in reality the rate only applied to the balance of the principal.

“ASIC's crackdown on misleading advertising has seen action taken against 10 entities this year. ASIC will continue to take action where we believe firms have not provided clear, consistent information in their advertising,” ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell said.