National consumer credit licensing

The requirement for providers of consumer credit and credit-related broking services to obtain a licence from ASIC will be a key feature of the national consumer credit regime due to start on 1 January 2010.ASIC’s licensing process will be coordinated online, supported by a telephone and email service. More information about licensing will be provided as it becomes available.

Draft bills are now expected by the end of April with introduction into Parliament by mid-year.Legislation will be passed by September with licensing to commence by 1 January 2010.

The new regime will be implemented by two draft bills: the National Consumer Credit Protection Bill and the Corporations Amendment Financial Services Modernisation Bill.

The first bill will contain the new national consumer credit code, which sets the framework for the regime; responsible lending conduct provisions (which will include an assessment of the borrower’s capacity to repay the credit being offered); licensing of credit providers and greater enforcement powers for ASIC to police the new regime.

The second Bill will address margin lending, trustee companies and debentures.

At the request of the States and Territories, the Commonwealth has agreed to defer full passage of both bills until September to allow the states to pass their relevant referral legislation in time.

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