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ASIC approves COVID complaints relief for banks

Tuesday 16, Feb 2021

ASIC has approved a range of variations to the banking code of practice via legislative instrument, including the extension of a “COVID-19 Special Note” contained within the code until 1 September 2021.

According to the legislative instrument, the special note allows banks to “advise [customers] of the possibility of delays to the usual required notifications during the complaints process” as a result of COVID-19 business disruption.

Additionally, banks would be required to “inform [customers] within 45 days of a complaint (or such other time as specified for the relevant dispute in ASIC’s Regulatory Guide 165), of [their] rights to apply for external dispute resolution” if the bank had not resolved the complaint.

ASIC said “more comprehensive changes” would be made to the code as part of the Australian Banking Association’s triennial review of the code provisions later in the year. 
A key focus for the review would be formulating the code in such a way that it could become legally enforceable under new legislation passed in response to the royal commission late last year.

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