Customer Owned Banking Association

Summary

Due to an administrative oversight, an ACCC determination purported to be made on 1 August 2022 was not made. The ACCC has re-made its determination on 9 August 2022 in identical terms to that published on 1 August 2022, apart from the change in date of the decision. On 19 August 2022, a clerical error made during the publication process of the Final Determination was corrected. Specifically, an incorrect document had been included at Annexure 3 and the correct document has now been substituted.

The decision made on 9 August 2022 replaces the previous document published.

On 20 April 2022, the ACCC received an application for authorisation from the Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA) on behalf of itself and current and future members. COBA sought authorisation under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth). Authorisation would give it legal protection from competition laws to enable it to implement certain provisions of its Customer Owned Banking Code of Practice (the 2022 Code). COBA sought authorisation for five years.

The provisions in the 2022 Code that are the subject of COBA’s authorisation application include commitments to:

  • not charge or only to charge at cost a fee, cost or interest (or rebate such fee or interest charged) in connection with the relevant products or services provided by COBA member institutions;
  • dishonour credit card transactions that would result in a customer exceeding their credit limit by more than 10%;
  • not require customers experiencing financial difficulty to access their superannuation to meet their loan obligations;
  • restrict the circumstances under which the customer’s debt will be sold, particularly when the customer is experiencing financial difficulty or if the debt arose from violence or abuse;
  • not take enforcement actions against the customer (including small businesses) or guarantor in connection with the customer’s loan in certain circumstances; and
  • not include a general material adverse change default clause in small business loan contracts.

COBA also requested interim authorisation prior to the ACCC’s final determination in relation to the substantive application for authorisation. COBA sought interim authorisation to enable it and its members to make appropriate practical arrangements for finalisation and promotion of the 2022 Code and for its members to implement the 2022 Code, ahead of the proposed 31 October 2022 commencement date.

On 27 May 2022, the ACCC issued a draft determination proposing to grant authorisation for 5 years. The ACCC also granted interim authorisation to enable COBA and its current and future members to make arrangements for finalisation and promotion of the 2022 Code.

On 9 August 2022, the ACCC issued a determination granting authorisation until 19 August 2027.

Applicant(s)

  • Customer Owned Banking Association

Authorisation number(s)

  • AA1000609-1