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How is the home loan industry regulated, and what rights do borrowers have?

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The mortgage loan industry is subject to a number of laws and regulations, including (but not limited to):

  • National Consumer Credit Protection Act (“NCCP”) – this applies to borrowers who are individuals (not companies) that obtain a mortgage loan predominantly for household, personal or domestic purposes, or for purchasing, renovating or improving residential property for investment purposes. The NCCP does not apply to mortgage loans for commercial or business purposes. The NCCP enables a borrower to give their lender a hardship notice if they are unable to meet current or future mortgage loan payment obligations. Lenders are required to have internal disputes resolution schemes in place, and also be a member of an independent external disputes resolution scheme body, such as Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) or Credit Ombudsman Service Limited (COSL).
  • The Privacy Act (1988) and the Privacy Amendment Act – new privacy laws were introduced in March 2014, specifically focused on the way companies manage data on customers (borrowers in this case), and how they are allowed to use that data.

Lenders are regulated by one or all of the following (among others):

  • Australian Securities and investments Commission (“ASIC”) – regulates Australia’s corporations to ensure compliance with the Corporations Act. They also look to ensure Australia’s financial markets and the provision of financial services (including the provision of mortgage loans) are effective, fair, and transparent to users.
  • Australia Prudential Regulation Authority (“APRA”) – regulates Australia’s Authorised Deposit-Taking Institutions or ADIs, including banks, credit unions, and building societies.

Mortgage loan borrowers have a number of rights under consumer credit legislation in Australia. If you experience financial difficulty, and are concerned about your ability to make mortgage loan repayments now or in the future, make sure you stay in contact with us to discuss the options available to you to manage your loan repayments. We look at each situation and circumstances to determine the best way forward in each case.

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