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Three top Australian banks settle class action lawsuits for $84 million

A pedestrian is reflected in the window of a branch of the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) in central Sydney

(Reuters) -Three of Australia's 'big four' banks settled separate class action lawsuits for A$126 million ($84.51 million) with Slater & Gordon, who took the banks to court two years ago over sale of credit insurance products, the companies said on Monday.

Law firm Slater & Gordon in 2020 filed class action lawsuits against Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corp, and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group on behalf of around one million customers.

The lawsuit alleged the entities and associated parties made customers believe their policy payments were "compulsory or provided value to them", as well as misled or were deceptive in conduct over selling or issuing policies with no value, the law firm said.

CBA, the country's biggest lender, said the settlement involves other defendants including Colonial Mutual Life Assurance Society (CMLA) and AIA Australia Ltd, who would together pay A$50 million to their customers if court approves the sum.

ANZ, along with QBE Insurance, and OnePath Life and OnePath General Insurance, indirect units of Swiss firm Zurich Insurance Group, will pay a total of A$47 million to their customers under the settlement, with ANZ contributing A$42 million, Slater & Gordon said.

Westpac would pay A$29 million, subject to court's approval.

($1 = 1.4910 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; editing by Diane Craft and Rashmi Aich)