ASIC issues report on Credit Act relief decisions

ASIC has released a report Overview of decisions on relief applications (June to September 2010) (REP 226 )

Report 226 summarises situations where ASIC has exercised, or refused to exercise, its exemption and modification powers under the Corporations Act, the licensing and responsible lending provisions of the National Credit Act and the registration provisions of Schedule 2 of the Transitional Act. Decisions by ASIC to refuse to exercise its powers are described on an anonymous basis.

In respect of the Credit Act ASIC’s report includes the following decisions:

Conditional relief for loans to clergy
ASIC granted conditional relief from the requirement to hold a credit licence for the provision of loans to clergy. Conditional relief was granted to bring the provision of loans to clergy into line with the employee loan exemption in s6(11) of the National Credit Code. Conditions were imposed on the relief to retain some key protections for these loans, including the hardship provisions in the National Credit Code. Relief was also granted from the responsible lending obligations.

Insurance brokers
ASIC refused to grant relief from the requirement to hold a credit licence to insurance brokers who provided credit assistance for contracts to finance insurance premiums (premium funding).

ADI branches
ASIC refused to grant permanent relief to certain credit representatives of authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs) (i.e. franchisee and agent companies that operate branches of those ADIs and their employees) from the requirement to have separate external dispute resolution (EDR) scheme membership. However, ASIC granted interim relief for a period of 12 months to allow the affected ADIs and credit representatives sufficient time to put in place administrative arrangements and systems for compliance.

Loans processor
ASIC refused to grant relief from the requirement to hold a credit licence to a loan processor, who operates externally to, and independent of, credit licensees or authorised representatives of a credit licensee.

Hardship relief
ASIC refused to grant interim relief from the requirement to give the debtor a written response under s72(3) of the National Credit Code outlining the reasons for not agreeing to changes to the terms of a credit contract requested in a hardship application. Interim relief was sought to allow the applicant time to make system changes for the electronic generation of these responses.

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