We welcome ASIC’s announcement that it has approved the new Banking Code of Practice.

The approval from ASIC was the final step in the comprehensive review of the Code, providing customers with confidence that the obligations are supported by a strong regulatory framework.

The new Code will come into effect on 28 February 2025.

The new Code has been improved with new and strengthened commitments, including:

  • an expanded definition of vulnerable customers, now recognising people who are incarcerated
  • a strengthened commitment to improve inclusivity and accessibility through the provision of interpreters, the National Relay Service, and accessible information.
  • the new requirement for banks to take reasonable steps to meet with prospective guarantors.

We would have liked to have seen the Code go further with additional protections. For example, we advocated to strengthen the vulnerability obligations to ensure banks take steps to proactively identify vulnerable customers rather than rely on the customer to tell the bank about their circumstances.

We also strongly advocated for key protections to be retained in the new Code, including the diligent and prudent banker obligations for individuals, provisions for complaints-handling, and strong BCCC oversight. We were pleased to see these protections not diminished.

With the announcement from ASIC, we now look forward to working with banks and the Australian Banking Association on implementing the new Code.

Our goal is to ensure a smooth transition and our focus in the coming months will be on aligning reporting requirements and guidance to support consistent practices with the new obligations.