Raising standards through the Code of Banking Practice

An Independent Review of the Code of Banking Practice was completed in February 2017, which measured how banks’ standards of conduct are meeting current community expectations. This relates to banks’ dealings with customers including homeowners, small businesses and farmers.

Led by former ASIC Executive General Manager and governance expert Mr Phil Khoury, the review examined how banks:

  • Offer products and services to customers
  • Disclose fees and charges
  • Handle complaints, and
  • Look after borrowers in financial difficulty.

Banks accepted 96 of the 99 recommendations, in full or in part, made by Mr Khoury. The new and improved Code was lodged with ASIC for approval in December 2017.

Some of the changes customers can expect in a new Code include:

  • Plain-English language so that Australians can better understand their banking rights and responsibilities.
  • An easier way to cancel credit cards or reduce the credit limit.
  • A new dedicated section for small businesses, and a commitment by banks to simplify terms and conditions and give more notice when loan contracts change.
  • Increased help for people experiencing, or at risk of, financial difficulty, so they can take control of their finances.

More information on how the new Code will help bank customers, including small businesses, is available here.

More information on the independent review of the Code of Banking Practice, and a copy of Mr Khoury’s report, is available on the Review’s website. Answers to frequently asked questions about the Code are available here.

Mr Ian McPhee is independently overseeing this initiative as part of the governance of industry reforms announced in April 2016.