THE NAB has confirmed it is preparing to settle a class action over unfair fees which could see up to 30,000 customers share in up to $40 million in compensation.
The NAB's move is expected to put pressure on rival banks, fending off similar legal actions, to do likewise.
The Sun-Herald newspaper, which broke the story, reported law firm Maurice Blackburn has estimated that the various class actions affect up to 45,000 CBA customers, 38,000 ANZ customers and 30,000 Westpac customers.
Banks have annually raked in hundreds of millions of dollars each year in late fees with some years topping the $1 billion mark in Australia.
NAB today confirmed that on Friday, November 7, 2014, the applicants in the NAB Bank Fees Class Action lodged in the Federal Court an application seeking the Court's approval to open and close the class.
"This is a first but significant step towards reaching a potential settlement,'' the NAB said in a statement on Wednesday.
NAB CEO Andrew Thorburn said: "NAB is doing this because we believe this is the right thing to do for our customers and our business.
"We know that banking customers want to be treated fairly, which is why five years ago NAB made the decision to remove many of the fees and charges that annoy customers the most.
"NAB is the only major bank to completely get rid of dishonour fees and periodical non-payment fees.
"NAB is the only major bank to have a fully featured personal transaction account available to all our customers with no monthly account keeping fees.
"NAB was the first and remains the only bank to abolish overlimit fees on credit cards. Since 2010, NAB's credit card late payment fee has been $5 - up to $15 less than our major competitors."
If the class is opened, customers wanting to join the NAB Bank Fees Class Action and participate in any potential settlement will need to register, the bank said.
The registration process would be managed by Financial Redress, a subsidiary of the company funding the Bank Fees Class Actions against all of the major Australian banks.
Any announcements about this process will be made by IMF and the applicants' solicitors Maurice Blackburn.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.