Breaches of the Banking Code of Practice rose 19 per cent in the second half of 2021, according to the latest compliance report by the Banking Code Compliance Committee (BCCC).
The report, Banks’ Compliance with the Banking Code of Practice (July-December 2021), shows banks reported almost 25,000 breaches of the Code between July and December 2021, up from around 21,000 reported in the previous six months.
Ten banks reported an overall increase in breaches.
The BCCC’s Independent Chair, Ian Govey AM, acknowledged the improvements in banks identifying breaches, but reiterated the importance of reducing them.
“We know banks have been working to improve their compliance processes to comply with enhanced reporting obligations from ASIC,” Mr Govey said.
“But now that banks have had the time to implement better systems and processes, we would like to see breaches come down.”
The ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic also contributed to the rise in breaches, as banks managed above-average hardship applications at a time of staff shortages.
“Despite these difficulties, compliance with obligations is vitally important,” Mr Govey said.
The BCCC’s report revealed that an estimated 13 million customers were affected by breaches, resulting in a financial impact of about $69 million.
The report showed that banks continue to cite human error as the main cause of breaches.
Mr Ian Govey drew attention to an increase in breaches regarding inclusive and accessible banking.
“This is a priority focus area for the BCCC, and we will follow up with banks on our inquiry of 2021 that looked at these issues. We want to see the progress that banks have made to comply with obligations in these areas,” he said.
Not all banks reported an increase in breaches between July and December 2021. Six reported an overall decrease, while one bank reported the same number as the previous six months, and another reported no breaches.
The BCCC’s report: Banks’ compliance with the Banking Code of Practice – July to December 2021 is available on the BCCC’s website under Resources and Publications > Reports.
Chief Executive Officer
Banking Code Compliance Committee
Further information about the Banking Code Compliance Committee is available on its website – bankingcode.org.au.