Australian court finds some ANZ bank fees illegal

SYDNEY Tue Feb 4, 2014 6:18pm EST

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SYDNEY Feb 5 (Reuters) - Australia and New Zealand Banking Group was wrong to charge its customers additional fees for late loan payments, the Federal Court ruled on Wednesday in one of Australia's largest-ever class action suits.

ANZ, Australia's third-largest bank, was however allowed to charge additional honour, dishonour, non-payment and overlimit fees because they qualified as a penalty under common law, the court said.

Around 38,000 bank customers had claimed A$57 million ($50.70 million) from ANZ for what they said were excessive and unfair fees.

The partial victory for class action law firm Maurice Blackburn suggests it will press ahead with seven other similar cases it plans against Australian banks, seeking a further A$186 million ($165.5 million) for what they allege were exorbitant fees over a six-year period to 2010. ($1 = 1.1242 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Byron Kaye)

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