Monday 08 Apr 2019
The Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA) has initiated an independent review of its Code of Practice, which was introduced in 2014. As part of this review, COBA invited a Joint Consumer Representatives' submission, to which FCRC contributed.
In the joint submission, the consumer advocacy groups (Financial Rights Legal Centre, Consumer Action Law Centre, Financial Counselling Australia, and FCRC) raised an objection to the Association's campaign for "proportionate regulation" of customer owned banks which would allow greater leniency around regulations for smaller banking institutions. The consumer representatives argued that all institutions should be held to the same level of standards, and that COBA should be matching the commitments made by the ABA in their new Banking Code.
The representatives identified a number of areas for reform by the customer owned banks, which included commitments around the issues of financial exclusion and hardship, as well as improved obligations for responsible lending.
COBA has already responded to the submission with an invitation for the consumer representatives to provide further input into the review via a consultative forum.