In November 2017, the then treasurer Scott Morrison announced that the federal government would introduce a mandatory comprehensive credit reporting (CCR) regime, which would require the big four banks to participate fully in the credit reporting system.
Legislation to implement the regime – National Consumer Credit Protection Amendment (Mandatory Comprehensive Credit Reporting) Bill 2018 – passed the House of Representatives in June 2018.
However, following a review by the Attorney-General, the bill was updated to include a new category of information within credit reporting, enabling hardship information to be reported alongside repayment history information.
The amendments will indicate to credit providers those customers who have entered into financial hardship arrangements, while also enable people experiencing financial difficulty to demonstrate “good credit reporting behaviour” by complying with the hardship arrangement.
Under the proposed changes, hardship indicators will identify where a hardship arrangement is in place and whether a consumer is making payments in accordance with the arrangement.
Additionally, a separate indicator will show where there has been an agreed permanent variation to a credit contract.
According to Treasury, hardship information will be subject to “broadly the same” protections as repayment history information concerning collection, use and disclosure under the Privacy Act but will be subject to a shorter retention period.
Treasury is now seeking submissions relating to the amendment from industry stakeholders.
Consultation opened on 15 August and will conclude on 19 September.
[Related: Open banking regime commences]