Small Business Banking Code rules change

The ASIC Corporations (Approval of Variation of March 2020 Banking Code of Practice) Instrument 2021/11 commenced on 12 January 2021.

The changes include the following:

  • Amend the Code’s definition of ‘banking services’ to address an anomaly in the Code’s previous wording that had the unintended result of excluding certain types of small business banking customers who would otherwise meet the Code’s definition of ‘small business’.
  • Make some minor amendments to the Code’s definition of ‘small business’.

The changes are preliminary to the Australian Banking Association (the “ABA”) decision to increase the threshold amount for total credit outstanding (TCE) that a small business may have within the definition to $5 million TCE from 2023.

In addition the variations:

  • Extend the application of the Code’s COVID-19 Special Note, which allows for special application of specified Code provisions in light of the extraordinary external environment caused by COVID-19, for a further six months until 1 September 2021.
  • Specify situations in which banks may decline to continue dealing with a representative that a customer in financial difficulty has appointed, if the bank reasonably considers that representative is no longer able to act in the customer’s best interests.
  • Align the Code’s timeframes for responding to complaints with the updated timeframes in ASIC’s Regulatory Guide 271 Internal dispute resolution, which is due to commence on 5 October 2021.

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David Jacobson

Author: David Jacobson
Principal, Bright Corporate Law
About David Jacobson
The information contained in this article is not legal advice. It is not to be relied upon as a full statement of the law. You should seek professional advice for your specific needs and circumstances before acting or relying on any of the content.

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