The Banking Code Compliance Committee (BCCC) has highlighted its first independent review and the work it has undertaken to implement the recommendations in its 2021-22 Annual Report.

In response to the review, the BCCC is improving its approach to operate more efficiently while maintaining a high quality, trusted program of compliance monitoring.

‘We were pleased with the consultative approach of the review and the comprehensive report that followed.’ Chair of the BCCC, Ian Govey AM, said.

‘The report showed that the BCCC plays a critical role in promoting compliance with the Code and we are working hard on implementing the recommendations it made.’

In its Annual Report, the BCCC notes the significant progress it has made on several recommendations. In particular, it emphasised how it has revitalised its Small Business and Agribusiness Advisory Panel.

‘Breathing new life into the Small Business and Agribusiness Advisory Panel is an important step,’ Mr Govey said.

‘The expert insight and advice we get from this Panel is vital and we already see the value in its renewed form.’

The Annual Report also makes note of the need for banks to reduce breaches of the Code, and the BCCC expects improvements in the next 12 months.

For three consecutive reporting periods, July 2020 to December 2021, banks reported approximately 20,000 breaches, resulting in an overall increase of nearly 20 per cent.

‘A rise in Code breaches suggests that banks can still improve their systems and processes to comply with obligations,’ Mr Govey said.

‘Although we have had changes in the regulatory environment in the past 18 months, banks have had sufficient time to consider the implications and ensure appropriate systems and processes are put in place.

‘We expect to see better results in the coming 12 months.’

The BCCC’s inquiry into inclusivity, accessibility and vulnerability was also a feature of the Annual Report, and it points to more work with banks in this area.

It showcases the findings of the inquiry, reiterating banks are in a prime position to identify customers at risk of poor outcomes and should ensure their systems and processes allow fair outcomes for all customers.

It states that the BCCC will follow up with banks in 2022-23 to see the action they took to address the inquiry’s findings and recommendations.

‘This follow-up work is crucial,’ Mr Govey said. ‘To see the true effect of the inquiry, and whether it has led to improvements, we need to follow up with banks and examine their responses.

‘The next financial year will reveal the extent to which banks implemented the recommendations. We expect to see some good results.’

For the first time, the BCCC consulted stakeholders on its work program. The consultation focused on issues of the greatest risk of consumer harm, and the responses contributed to the development of the BCCC’s priority areas for the year ahead.

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