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COVID-19 and financial hardship: retail lenders’ obligations and ASIC’s expectations

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29 April 2020

ASIC is closely monitoring how lenders are assisting consumers who are experiencing financial difficulties due to COVID-19.

We remind lenders of their obligations under section 72 of the National Credit Code, whereby a lender must consider varying a consumer’s credit contract if a consumer notifies them that they are or will be unable to meet their credit obligations.

Lenders must also do all things necessary to ensure that the credit activities authorised by their licence are engaged in efficiently, honestly and fairly.

We have been encouraged by lenders that have announced assistance packages in response to COVID-19. ASIC recognises that offering assistance that is ‘standardised’ enables lenders to quickly provide relief to the large volume of consumers affected by this pandemic.

However, to respond to consumer financial difficulties fairly, lenders should consider the following five points in their processes:

We encourage lenders to continue to work closely with their customers to develop options that provide short-term assistance to customers experiencing difficulty due to COVID-19 and also longer-term viability post COVID-19.

If lenders have any concerns or questions about ASIC’s expectations, please contact us: [email protected].

See also:

ASIC responds to lenders’ request for clarification on lending during the COVID-19 pandemic

Regulator Information

Abbreviation: ASIC
Jurisdiction: Australia

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