The Australian Banking Association

Summary

On 22 May 2019 the Australian Banking Association Inc (ABA) sought authorisation to implement, in the 2019 Banking Code, recommendations made in the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry relating to informal overdrafts, dishonour fees, and default interest charged on loans secured by agricultural land. The ABA also sought authorisation to prescribe certain minimum requirements relating to basic bank accounts. The ABA proposes to bring all of these amendments into effect on 1 March 2020.

The ABA requested authorisation for a period of 10 years.

On 21 November 2019, the ACCC issued a determination granting conditional authorisation to the ABA for 5 years. Under the conditions, ABA member banks must either not charge interest, or refund any interest charged, on informal overdrafts on basic accounts held by eligible low income customers if the customer has not agreed to an overdraft facility. Banks must also proactively identify customers who may be eligible for basic accounts.

The ABA must also report to the ACCC on several matters; including any changes to the number of banks offering basic bank accounts, how often informal overdrafts are occurring on basic accounts held by eligible customers without the customer’s agreement, and the steps that banks have taken to contact existing customers who might be eligible for a basic account. These reports will be made available on the ACCC’s public register.

Decisions regarding interim authorisation and the ACCC’s draft determination for this matter are available below.

If no application for review of the determination is made to the Australian Competition Tribunal it will come into force on 13 December 2019.

Applicant(s)

  • The Australian Banking Association

Authorisation number(s)

  • AA1000441-1

Decisions