How we’re helping to address the power imbalance between consumers and banks

February 12, 2019

The recent Banking Royal Commission report highlighted unethical practices by financial services providers and noted that there is a power imbalance between consumers and banks. People who feel that they have not been listened to by their bank frequently cannot access remedies or understand their rights without the assistance of free and independent financial counsellors.

CatholicCare’s experienced financial counsellors work with people experiencing financial difficulties, which can come about for all sorts of reasons – relationship breakdown, loss of employment, health issues and more.  We listen to your story, assess where you stand and give you options and strategies to help you to make your financial situation more sustainable.

The Royal Commission and the publicity it generated really helped us in the advocacy work we do on our client’s behalf with their lenders. The Royal Commission focused on the banks’ obligations to lend responsibly and we were able to get some outstanding outcomes for clients when we were able to demonstrate that for particular loans, banks had not met their obligations.  For example, an elderly client of aged pension age in a low paid part-time job was having difficulties making repayments on a personal loan from one of the big four. We suspected that the bank in question had not carried out a rigorous assessment of the suitability of the loan, and were able to get the bank to agree to release our client from the debt.

Of course, not all of our clients are victims of bank misconduct. We try to help anyone who, for whatever reason, has money problems.  And remember, our services are free.

by Martin Derby, Coordinator, CatholicCare’s Financial Counselling Services

Martin began financial counselling  work as a volunteer in South West Sydney, and did his training with the Financial Counsellors Association of NSW.  In 2013 Martin was appointed as the inaugural Coordinator of CatholicCare Diocese of Broken Bay’s government-funded financial counselling service which operates on Sydney’s Lower North Shore, Northern Beaches and at Ryde.  Martin is also employed part-time as the Accreditation and Supervision Officer at the Financial Counsellors Association of NSW. As well as a Diploma of Community Services (Financial Counselling) Martin holds a B.A. and  M.B.A.  


For more information or to book:
P: (02) 8425 8700

Our financial counselling services are offered at the following centres:

Naremburn Family Centre
40 Merrenburn Avenue

Northern Beaches Family Centre
116/20 Dale Street

The Northern Centre
West Ryde Community Centre
3 – 5 Anthony Road


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