ASIC consults on ABA’s proposed changes to the banking code

Today ASIC opened its consultation on the Australian Banking Association’s (ABA) proposed changes to its Banking Code of Practice (the Code). The Code contains a set of contractually enforceable standards that customers and small business can expect subscribing banks to uphold. The ABA plans to apply for ASIC approval of the revised Code.

This is the first time that ASIC has undertaken a public consultation before making a decision on approving the Code. ASIC is seeking to ensure the Code continues to provide real benefits to consumers, small businesses, and subscribing banks before deciding whether to grant final approval.

The consultation will help inform ASIC’s decision on whether to approve the proposed Code, and is focussed on obtaining feedback and insights on the following key issues:

whether the proposed Code imposes obligations on subscribers that are beyond those required by the law and, in doing so, addresses key potential consumer harms;
whether the proposed Code provides for effective administrative systems for monitoring compliance and whether the obligations are capable of being enforced;
whether any Code review recommendations that the ABA has not supported should be included in the proposed Code;
whether the recommendations accepted by the ABA are appropriately reflected in the proposed Code and proposed Charter;
whether the proposed Code strikes an appropriate balance between simplifying the Code and minimising regulatory duplication on the one hand, and promoting consumer awareness of protections applicable to their banking relationship on the other; and
the role of industry guidelines.
To address these issues, interested parties are invited to review the proposed Code, the proposed changes to the Banking Code Compliance Committee Charter, and a new customer-facing document, which serves as a Customer Guide: Banking with confidence: your key rights and protections as a customer.

ASIC does not develop or administer the Code. The ABA is the ‘owner’ of the Code. ASIC’s role is to consider whether to approve the Code using our statutory powers and according to the relevant criteria.

The consultation closes at 11:59pm AEDT on 15 January 2024. Submissions should be sent to [email protected].

ASIC will consider the feedback received and look to make a decision on approving the code in the first half of 2024.

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