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Here is an Excerpt from ASIC’s Ruling for Brokers and what’s in it for them…

June 15, 2015

Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) published a report wherein the purpose of the report was to review the small loans industry and reinforce adherence to the small-amount lending provisions included in the 2013 Enhancements Act. To ensure consumer protection and incorporate a nation-wide approach to help further regulate this rapidly growing industry, these lending provisions were introduced.

To equip the report with facts and figures, “ASIC picked a sample of 288 small-amount loans under $2,000 that were taken over a term of less than one year. ASIC selected 13 lenders from 1,208 licence holders, who provided the 288 loan files funded during August 2013. ASIC estimated that the 13 chosen lenders were responsible for funding more than three quarters of all SACC loans provided at that time.”

The report was released in March 2015, well furbished with proofs and documentations and were hindering some lenders and certain practices that were reported. Specifically, ASIC was focused on Australia’s most defenceless consumers, who reasonably, warrant the highest protection.

The excerpt from the report is stated below in as it is basis. For detailed information, you can visit their website.

To ensure lending practices are in line with ASIC’s expectations

This report has clearly highlighted not only the need to have diligent lending practices in place, but they must be strictly adhered to and must be in accordance with ASIC’s expectations.

For servicing helpless consumers

Both lenders and brokers are charged with responsible lending obligations. These, in addition to abiding by consumer protection laws and specific lending guidelines, are non-negotiable foundations. Red flags such as arrears, many SACC loans in the past three months, and defaults demand further discussion and clear documentation, as do any comments that set off alarm bells, such as anticipated income instability or disclosure of circumstances that could cause future undue hardship.

Loan documentation and record-keeping

The implications of not accurately maintaining records and loan documents are two-fold. Firstly, the credit licence that authorises your business operations could be breached. If not undertaken, ASIC can enforce licence suspension, cancellation or banning. Secondly, the consumer has potential grounds to take action to recover money.

Compliance

A key message from this report was that compliance, in respect to the new laws recently introduced, needed immediate improvement. As Peter Kell, ASIC’s deputy chairman stated, the report is now a “guide for the industry”, in essence “where to lift standards to comply”. For the payday lending industry, federal laws are up for review again in mid-2015, so those lenders not prepared to adapt and duly comply will have no choice but to leave the industry voluntarily or be stripped of their licence.

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