Media Release: Banks have answered the call by customers in financial difficulty, but more will need to be done before 1 July 2019 to be ready for the ABA’s new and enhanced Code

Australian banks have financial difficulty programs that, for the most part, meet the requirements under the 2013 Code of Banking Practice, according to inquiry findings released today.

The inquiry, Assisting customers in financial difficulty (Part 1), was conducted by the independent Banking Code Compliance Monitoring Committee (CCMC) and included data from banks and the views of consumer advocates.

Sally Davis, Chief Executive of the CCMC, said: “With the number of Australians requesting financial difficulty assistance increasing significantly since 2011–12, it is more important than ever for banks to be ready and able to assist their customers”

“Overall banks are doing well and getting most of the basic requirements right. The new Code will require that banks take a broader, more forward-thinking approach to ensure that all customers get the assistance they need in times of difficulty.”

The inquiry made 14 recommendations for improvements in the way banks help customers overcome their financial difficulty. The CCMC has set expectations that banks should:

  • train all customer-facing bank staff, including lending staff, to be able to identify customers in financial difficulty
  • adopt flexible approaches to assistance, considering and providing long term assistance where it needed and appropriate, and
  • promote a culture of non-judgement and compassion when assisting customers.

Job-related issues, usually reduced income, reduced working hours or unemployment, were the main reason for people seeking financial difficulty assistance (42% of the total). Other reasons included accidents, illness (including mental illness), family separation and family violence. Banks granted about seven in ten requests for assistance a year.

In 2015, the CCMC conducted an initial own motion inquiry investigating banks’ compliance with financial difficulty obligations in the 2013 Code of Banking Practice. This follow-up inquiry was conducted partly to help banks transition to a new Code, developed by the Australian Banking Association, which comes into effect on 1 July 2019.

  • The Banking Code Compliance Monitoring Committee’s role is to monitor and drive best practice Code compliance. The Committee examines banks’ practices, identifies industry-wide problems and recommends improvements.

 

Report: Assisting customers in financial difficulty (Part 1) PDF (490KB, 36 pages)

Information about the Banking Code Compliance Monitoring Committee is available on its website, www.ccmc.org.au.

 

Further information:

Sally Davis

Chief Executive

Banking Code Compliance Monitoring Committee

sdavis@codecompliance.org.au

(03) 9613 7341

Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Inquiry Reports, Media releases, News & Publications

Media Release: Compliance body welcomes revised Banking Code of Practice

The independent Banking Code Compliance Monitoring Committee (CCMC) acknowledges ASIC’s approval of the new Banking Code of Practice and welcomes the wider remit afforded to the renamed monitoring body, the Banking Code Compliance Committee (BCCC), to monitor banks’ practices and enforce compliance with the Code.

The new Code gives the BCCC greater ability to obtain breach data from banks and increased sanctioning powers. The CCMC will work with the Australian Banking Association on the transition of code monitoring arrangements prior to commencement of the Code.

Chief Executive Sally Davis said: “More frequent and improved access to data will enable the BCCC to robustly monitor banks’ compliance with the Code and build up a more detailed picture of compliance issues in the sector.”

“Strengthened sanctioning powers will enable the BCCC to report serious, systemic or ongoing breaches of the Code to ASIC and require banks to take corrective action.”

The CCMC is an independent committee established to monitor banks’ compliance with the Code of Banking Practice.

Its purpose is to monitor and drive best practice Code compliance.

 

www.ccmc.org.au

 

Further information:

Sally Davis

Chief Executive Officer

Banking Code Compliance Monitoring Committee

sdavis@codecompliance.org.au

(03) 9613 7341

 

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Code Reviews, Media releases, News & Publications

Banking Code Compliance Monitoring Committee Bulletin – July 2018

Welcome to Issue 27 of The Bulletin. In this edition:

 

The CCMC’s 2018–21 Strategic Plan and 2018–19 Workplan

The CCMC’s purpose is to monitor and drive best practice Code compliance, through a collaborative approach with the banking sector and other key stakeholders.

To achieve this, the CCMC will:

  • examine banks’ practices
  • identify current and emerging industry wide problems
  • recommend improvements to bank practices, and
  • consult with and keep stakeholders and the public informed.

The CCMC has published its three-year Strategic Plan which identifies its broad priorities to meet this purpose.

In addition, the CCMC has developed its Workplan for 2018–19 to set out the specific tasks to be completed in the year ahead. Key features of the Workplan include:

  • Develop and implement a revised risk based approach to Code compliance investigations.
  • Develop and implement the CCMC’s stakeholder engagement plan and external communications strategy.
  • Conduct a major Own Motion Inquiry into a Code compliance matter of high priority and continue the CCMC’s follow up work into Direct Debits (Code clause 21).

 

Own Motion Inquiry into breach reporting

On 28 June 2018, the CCMC published the report of its inquiry into banks’ reporting of Code breaches.

The CCMC had identified inconsistencies in how banks record and report Code breaches and undertook the inquiry to better understand banks’ data and to improve its data collection strategy. The inquiry investigated breaches previously reported in the 2016–17 Annual Compliance Statement (ACS), the CCMC’s core data collection tool.

The report outlines the CCMC’s key findings, and sets out is expectations of banks for monitoring Code compliance and reporting breaches.

In summary, the CCMC expects banks will:

  • Be diligent at all times in providing accurate and complete data in response to requests for information.
  • Use breach data to identify patterns and develop systems and system controls that prevent repeated human errors.
  • Use information about breaches caused by human error to review the effectiveness of staff training.
  • Fully investigate how each breach has impacted customers.
  • Remediate customers appropriately and to record and report all corrective actions.
  • Test systems regularly and comprehensively, wherever they rely on systems to fulfil their obligations to customers.

The CCMC will continue to provide feedback to banks to ensure that the consistency and quality of breach reporting in the ACS is of the highest possible standard.

The CCMC will report outcomes from its 2017–18 ACS in its next Annual Report, due November 2018.

Report: CCMC Own Motion Inquiry – Breach Reporting PDF (567KB, 49 pages).

 

The revised Banking Code of Practice and the Banking Code Compliance Committee

In December 2017, the Australian Banking Association (ABA) submitted the revised Banking Code of Practice (the revised Banking Code) and the Banking Code Compliance Committee (BCCC) Charter to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for approval under section 1101A of the Corporations Act 2001.

Following its lodgement of the revised Code, the ABA has made further changes. The latest version of the draft revised Code, as at 23 April, is available on the ABA’s website.

ASIC’s approval of the revised Code was considered at the Round 3 hearings of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry in May 2018. The CCMC understands that the ABA and ASIC have continued discussions about the approval of the revised Banking Code following those hearings.

The CCMC awaits further information from the ABA about the approval of the revised Banking Code and will provide further details about its approach to transition following Code approval.

 

Financial difficulty transitional inquiry

The CCMC is currently conducting an inquiry into the Code’s financial difficulty obligations.

The CCMC scheduled a follow-up inquiry of banks’ compliance with Code clause 28 under item 1.7 of the its 2017-18 Workplan. The CCMC has broadened the scope of the inquiry to cover compliance with the 2013 Code and include a ‘transitional inquiry’ to account for revised Code provisions.

The CCMC expects the revised Banking Code to expand the financial difficulty provisions of the current Code and introduce a strong focus on vulnerable customers. In anticipation of the revised Code, the CCMC considers that it is timely to begin assisting banks with their transition.

Through this Inquiry, the CCMC will assess current levels of compliance with the 2013 Code, while also gathering information to provide guidance to banks on best practice principles.

The purpose of the Inquiry is to:

  • Assess, benchmark, and report on banks’ level of compliance with clause 28 of the 2013 Code.
  • Share examples of good practice with the industry and community.
  • Assess the adequacy of banks’ financial difficulty frameworks and provide guidance about alterations required to meet the revised Code obligations relating to financial difficulty.
  • Develop guidance for the industry on best practice principles when working with customers to overcome financial difficulty.

The CCMC plans to publish its findings by September 2018.

If you have information to contribute to the inquiry please contact the CCMC’s Compliance Manager, Donna Stevens at dstevens@codecompliance.org.au.

 

The 2017–18 Annual Compliance Statement (ACS) program

The CCMC has provided banks with the 2017–18 Annual Compliance Statement (ACS) for completion. Following up on the breach reporting inquiry, the CCMC is asking banks to provide a detailed breakdown of Code compliance data to enable it to fully explore trends and emerging issues.

The CCMC consulted with banks on the development of the ACS between during April 2018, and will continue this engagement in the coming months to understand banks challenges when completing the ACS.

The outcomes of the ACS program, including any emerging risks and identified good industry practice, will be discussed with key stakeholders directly and published in the CCMC’s Annual Report for 2017–18.

 

Stakeholder engagement

The CCMC has met regularly with the ABA and ASIC to discuss its work program and ongoing developments regarding the revised Banking Code and the associated governance and compliance framework.

Along with the CCMC’s regular engagements with banks, consumer representatives and FOS, members of the Committee and its staff also:

  • Met with all subscribing banks and the ABA to discuss the CCMC’s Code monitoring activities and workshop the 2017–18 ACS.
  • Presented at the Financial Counselling Australia conference in Hobart.
  • Attended the Banking and Wealth Summit in Sydney.

 

CCMC Investigations – Key statistics

Between 1 March 2018 and 31 May 2018, the CCMC:

  • Received 4 new matters, which raised allegations of non-compliance with the following Code obligations:
    • provision of credit (2 allegations)
    • internal dispute resolution (2), and
    • compliance with laws (1).

 

  • Finalised 4 matters, including:
    • Two that were outside of the CCMC’s jurisdiction because they were allegations of breaches of Code clause 3 (key commitments) only. Under clause 36(b)iii of the Code, the CCMC’s investigations powers do not extend to clause 3 unless a breach of clause 3 is also a breach of another Code obligation.
    • One that was outside of the CCMC’s jurisdiction because the allegation was not about a Code subscriber.
    • One where there was no further contact from the person making the allegation.
Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Bulletins, News & Publications

CCMC 2018–21 Strategic Plan and 2018–19 Workplan

The Banking Code Compliance Monitoring Committee (CCMC) is an independent compliance monitoring body established under clause 36 of the 2013 Code of Banking Practice (the Code). Its purpose is to monitor and drive best practice Code compliance, through a collaborative approach with the banking sector and other key stakeholders.

To achieve this, the CCMC will:

  • examine banks’ practices
  • identify current and emerging industry wide problems
  • recommend improvements to bank practices, and
  • consult with and keep stakeholders and the public informed.

The Committee has prepared its 2018–21 Strategic Plan to identify the broad priorities for its work:

  • Monitor and investigate banks’ compliance with the Code.
  • Improve practices and outcomes for customers.
  • Build strong relationships with consumer, small business and agribusiness advocacy groups.
  • Lead the transition to a revised Code.

The Strategic Plan also provides a framework for how the CCMC considers it can achieve a meaningful impact on the banking industry for the benefit of its customers.

In addition, the CCMC has developed a Workplan which sets out the tasks to be completed in 2018–19 . Key features of the Workplan include:

  • Develop and implement a revised risk based approach to Code compliance investigations.
  • Develop and implement the CCMC’s stakeholder engagement plan and external communications strategy.
  • Conduct a major Own Motion Inquiry into a Code compliance matter of high priority and continue the CCMC’s follow up work into Direct Debits (Code clause 21).

When the revised Banking Code of Practice has been finalised, the CCMC will develop an additional Workplan to set out its areas of focus to support banks’ transition.

The CCMC’s Strategic Plan and Workplan can be downloaded using the links below:

CCMC Strategic Plan 2018–21 (PDF, 104kb)

CCMC Workplan 2018–19 (PDF, 248kb)

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
Posted in News & Publications, Workplans