CANBERRA, AAP – Banks have flagged tougher industry rules with a major review set to investigate tighter standards two years after the damning banking royal commission.
The voluntary code is a set of promises made by a bank about how it will treat its customers, including when they run into financial difficulties and face eviction from homes and farms.
The royal commission, which handed down its final report in February 2019, sparked court cases and steep fines.
Revelations resulted in stolen money being returned to customers and action on junk products, with executives axed from lucrative posts.
Australian Banking Association chief executive Anna Bligh says it’s time for more work on industry standards.
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“It is enforceable at law and used as the standard by which the Australian Financial Complaints Authority considers customer complaints against banks, so getting it right really matters,” she said.
Ms Bligh said recent updates to the code have incorporated changes recommended by the royal commission.
“This review presents an opportunity to further strengthen the code,” Ms Bligh said.
The ABA-commissioned review is due to report its findings by the end of November.
The code is intended to form an important part of the federal government’s broader consumer protections for people using financial services.
Mike Callaghan, a former Treasury deputy secretary and chief of staff to ex-treasurer Peter Costello, will lead the independent review.
“The focus of the review will be on ensuring that the code meets consumer and community expectations,” Mr Callaghan said.
He is seeking submissions from consumer groups, small business, farmers, governments, regulators and the general public.
The review is due to report its findings by the end of November.