CBA joins forces with customers to end financial abuse

It's set to become one of the largest campaigns in Australian history

CBA joins forces with customers to end financial abuse


By Micah Guiao

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has launched the Commbank Next Chapter Commitment to raise awareness on financial abuse within the family, making it one of the largest campaigns in Australian history.

The campaign was created in line with new research by Deloitte and commissioned by CBA. It found that over 380,000 women and 240,000 men were subjected to financial abuse by a current or former partner in 2020. This has cost victims $5.7 billion and another $5.2 billion to the Australian economy.

“In other words, nearly 1 in 30 women and 1 in 50 men are subjected to financial abuse in any given year – and this is almost certainly an underestimate,” the report stated.

Since the launch of Next Chapter in 2020, CBA has helped more than 500 customers through the Financial Independence Hub, a free and confidential service that aims to support financial abuse victims to feel more confident with money. In FY2021, another 22,000 customers suffering from family violence were assisted through CBA’s Community Wellbeing team.

Matt Comyn, chief executive officer of CBA, said CBA had been working to end financial abuse since 2015. The bank introduced the Commbank Next Chapter Commitment after better understanding the extent and impact of the issue to victims and the community from Deloitte’s research.

“The Next Chapter Commitment will see CBA…providing tools, advice and access to support services to help individuals or people they know recover from financial abuse and establish financial independence,” Comyn said. “It will take a community effort to address this hidden epidemic and this new commitment is one way we are playing our part. We want to help create a brighter future for all Australians, a future free of financial abuse.”

In the same light, Patty Kinnersly, chief executive officer at Our Watch, said financial abuse is often rooted in gender inequalities and financial insecurities that women face. She also acknowledged the important role of financial institutions in curbing this social issue.

“Violence and abuse are not always physical. Using money or finances to hurt or control someone is abuse, but it can be hard to identify, and often misunderstood,” Kinnersly said. “To prevent this, we need to address the underlying gender inequalities that drive financial abuse and other forms of violence against women. Financial insecurity is also a significant barrier for women seeking help and leaving violent relationships.”

Over five million CBA customers are invited to support the call to end financial abuse, and CBA is expecting more future involvement as it plans to advertise the Commbank Next Chapter Commitment on television, print, digital and radio over the course of the campaign.

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