Banks report a 14% increase in Code breaches

In a report released today, the Banking Code Compliance Committee (BCCC) said 19 subscriber banks self-reported 22,473 breaches of the Banking Code of Practice for the period July to December 2020.

This is a Banking Code Compliance Committee media release, originally published on 27th August, 2021.

This is an increase of 13.7% over the previous six months. One major bank accounted for over 40% of the total number of breaches reported.

The report is the BCCC’s second report on how the banks have handled their compliance obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The data reported for this period showed COVID-19 led to some delays in responding to customers’ complaints and requests for financial difficulty assistance.

The BCCC’s Independent Chair, Ian Govey AM, said banks have stated the increase in breaches overall is a result of improved monitoring of Code compliance, as well as the impacts of the pandemic.

“Banks have been working hard throughout the pandemic to meet customer expectations and rebuild trust in the Australian community. It’s important that they continue to improve their compliance with the Code and outcomes for customers. The BCCC welcomes the increased accuracy in bank reporting of Code breaches. However, it is concerned that so many breaches have occurred and urges banks to take urgent action to reduce these numbers,” Mr Govey said.

The Code obligations most commonly breached by banks continue to be commitments to train staff to understand how to comply with the Code and be fair, reasonable and ethical in dealings with customers, privacy and confidentiality, responsible lending, debt recovery and assisting with financial difficulty.

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