The Banking Code Compliance Committee (BCCC) Annual Report for 2020-21 highlights concerns about banks’ compliance with their guarantees and direct debits obligations under the Banking Code of Practice (the Code).
The BCCC has also shared good practice guidance to improve industry standards, including a landmark report about how banks should build organisational capability to improve their compliance with the Code.
Independent Chair, Ian Govey AM, said 2020-21 was a year of significant achievement for the BCCC.
‘We kept a strong focus on monitoring banks’ compliance with the Code and providing guidance to improve outcomes for bank customers,’ Mr Govey said.
The Annual Report also provides a summary of banks’ self-reported breach data. Banks have collectively reported approximately 20,000 breaches in three consecutive six-month periods from July 2019 to December 2020.
‘We have commended banks’ efforts to build capability to identify non-compliance and remediate customers. However, banks need to work harder to prevent breaches and the Committee and the broader community expect improvements to be made in a timely manner,’ Mr Govey said.
The BCCC will soon conclude an inquiry conducted into the Code’s vulnerability, inclusivity and accessibility obligations. It looks forward to sharing best practice initiatives which will be especially pertinent in light of the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of its 2021-22 monitoring activities the BCCC has recently commenced a new inquiry into banks’ compliance with the Code’s deceased estates obligations. This inquiry is based on concerns arising from the BCCC’s review of breach data indicating a number of possible systemic issues affecting a large number of customers during what can be a very sensitive period of bereavement. Consumer advocates have also communicated the difficulties they have encountered in their dealings with banks in this area.
René van de Rijdt
Acting Chief Executive Officer
Banking Code Compliance Committee
Further information about the Banking Code Compliance Committee is available on its website – bankingcode.org.au.