Banking Code Compliance Monitoring Committee Bulletin – October 2017

Welcome to Issue 24 of The Bulletin. In this edition:

 

CCMC Special Report – Access to banking services by Indigenous customers

In July 2017, the CCMC published its Special Report into Access to Banking Services by Indigenous Customers.

The CCMC brought together compliance and other data to share some of the work major Australian banks are doing, both individually and in partnership with the industry and other stakeholders, to increase Indigenous financial inclusion, financial literacy and cultural awareness.

The CCMC’s aim is to share these examples of good practice with all Code-subscribing banks so that the industry as a whole can continue to improve their service to Indigenous customers.

Follow-up Research – Direct Debits

The CCMC is currently finalising the report of its follow-up research into the direct debit obligations under clause 21 of the Code.

The CCMC conducted an Own Motion Inquiry into the obligations in 2009 and a follow-up in 2012 – on both occasions the CCMC stated that the findings fell short of expectations. The CCMC is aware that customers continue to experience issues when requesting a cancellation of a direct debit, including from submissions made to the Code Review in 2016.

The CCMC has found that despite some improvement non-compliance is still unacceptably high and will work with banks to ensure that compliance improves through a revised, ongoing compliance monitoring program.

The CCMC expects to publish its final report by the end of October 2017.

 

2016–17 Annual Compliance Statement program

In its Annual Compliance Statement (ACS) for 2016–17, the CCMC asked banks to provide a more detailed breakdown of Code compliance data to ensure it is able to fully explain compliance trends and emerging issues to stakeholders.

The CCMC is currently analysing banks’ responses and will be providing feedback to banks individually during October 2017.

The outcomes of the ACS program, including any emerging risks and identified good industry practice, will be published in the CCMC’s Annual Report for 2016–17 in November.

 

Investigations

Between 1 June 2017 and 31 August 2017 the CCMC:

  • Received six new matters, which raised allegations of non-compliance with the Code related to:
    • direct debits
    • financial difficulty
    • provision of credit
    • key commitments
    • statements of account, and
    • copies of documents.

  • Finalised six matters, including:
    • Two by Delegated Decision where banks agreed to self-report breaches of the direct debits and key commitments obligations under the Code.
    • Three where there was no further contact from the person making the allegation.
    • One where the consumer withdrew their Code breach allegation.

The CCMC is currently reviewing its approach to compliance investigations with a view to adopting a more risk based approach to Code breach allegations. Further information is available in the CCMC’s 2017–20 Workplan.

 

Stakeholder engagement

At each of its last three meetings, the CCMC has met with the Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA) to discuss developments regarding the Code review, in particular regarding the governance and compliance framework for the new Code.

CCMC staff have had additional meetings with the ABA and bank representatives to discuss matters relayed to the Code review and the CCMC’s ongoing monitoring work.

CCMC staff also recently met with:

  • the staff of a Customer Advocate of a major bank
  • the Consumer Action Law Centre in Melbourne, and
  • the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for a quarterly liaison meeting.

In September 2017 CCMC Chair, Chris Doogan, met with the Chairs of the equivalent compliance committees under the General Insurance Code of Practice, the Customer Owned Banking Code of Practice and the Insurance Brokers Code of Practice.

 

The CCMC’s Investigations Manager

The CCMC has welcomed a new Investigations Manager to the team, Rene van de Rijdt, who joined on 24 September 2017.

The CCMC said farewell to its previous Investigations Manager, Ralph Haller-Trost, on 8 August 2017. The Committee is grateful to Ralph for his service and wishes him well for the future.