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St George and Bank SA added to class action suit

St George and Bank SA added to class action suit

(2 February 2012 – Australia) Lawyers in Sydney announced on Wednesday that two more banks were being drawn into the class action over late payment fees. St George and Bank SA were now added to the biggest class action in Australia’s history, as the law firm Maurice Blackburn is seeking to recover as much as $200 million in what it says are unlawful fees charged by the banks on credit card and other accounts.

The class action's first target in 2010 was the ANZ bank, and in December it widened its net to include the Commonwealth Bank, (CBA) National Australia Bank (NAB), Westpac and Citi.

In December, the banks announced they would vigorously defend the action. St George and Bank SA are owned by Westpac, and have yet to comment on the Federal court action filed against them.

St George and Bank SA are the latest Australian banks to be taken to court by customers angry at the fees they are charged.

Maurice Blackburn senior associate Paul Gillett said the legal firm and bank customers taking part in the class action were in for a long fight to recoup the fees plus interest.

‘‘Everyday Australians are sick of the banks taking them for granted,’’ Gillett told reporters in Sydney.

‘‘And they are sick of the banks throwing their weight around and sick of the banks making massive profits while they do it.

‘‘Maurice Blackburn is doing what it can to try and get some of that money back for families and small businesses around this country.’’

More than 10,000 St George and Bank SA customers are party to the action.

They are seeking to recoup A$16 million in fees which the customers say they have been unfairly charged by the two banks.

The latest action follows a A$50 million claim the law firm launched in September 2010 on behalf of ANZ customers trying to claim back exception fees.
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