On the 25 September 2020, the Government announced a suite of changes to Australia’s consumer credit framework contained in the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 aimed at reducing the time it takes for individuals and small business to access credit while maintaining strong protections for vulnerable consumers. One aspect of the reforms amends the existing responsible lending obligations by replacing what has become a “one-size-fits-all” approach to lending with a risk-based regime that allows lenders the flexibility to make decisions based on the characteristics of the borrower and the type of credit.
The Government will ensure that authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs) continue to comply with Australian Prudential Regulation Authority lending standards that require sound credit assessment and approval processes; key principles from these standards will be adopted for non-ADIs and regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
The measures will commence on 1 March 2021, subject to the passing of legislation. This will ensure that barriers to accessing credit are removed so that consumers can continue to spend and businesses can invest and create jobs.
Feedback from stakeholders is sought on the proposed reforms which will be implemented through changes to the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 and the National Consumer Credit Protection Regulations 2010, as well as the introduction of a new Ministerial Instrument.
Public consultation on the exposure draft and explanatory material will close on 20 November 2020.