subscribe to our newsletter

It’s clear to me: CBA CEO defends RG 209

The major bank CEO has backed current interpretations of responsible lending amid calls for further clarity from both the Reserve Bank and ANZ.

Appearing before the House of Representatives standing committee on economics on Friday (4 September), CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) Matt Comyn was asked to weigh on calls from both the governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Philip Lowe and ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott for further clarification to responsible lending guidance.

Mr Comyn told committee members that he’s comfortable with existing interpretations of responsible lending (RG 209) issued by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) following “fulsome” consultation with stakeholders.

“It has been clarified,” he said.

“It is much more comprehensive and robust than it had been in the past.”


The major bank CEO dismissed suggestions that regulatory interpretations of the National Consumer Credit Protections Act (NCCP) have stifled the flow of credit, instead attributing disruptions to processing inefficiencies.

“We’ve invested tens of millions of dollars to make sure that we can turn around [our] lending decision times within a couple of days,” he said.

“It’s enabled us to grow above system. We lent more than $100 billion last financial year to housing.”

“I think it’s less about the supply of credit, it’s more about the process.”

He added: “The guidance, from our perspective, is clear. We understand the guidance. We certainly felt confident about the interpretation of the guidance.”


The CBA chief acknowledged that the credit assessment process has become more rigorous, with banks “far less able” to rely on income and expense information provided by customers, but said approval delays were a reflection of an individual institution’s processing capabilities.  

“[For] institutions that haven’t automated those processes, it takes them a significant amount of time, which is why some of the speeds of decision at some other institutions have blown out extensively, which is causing frustration across both customers, and particularly property developers,” he said.

However, despite Mr Comyn’s support for existing arrangements, ASIC recently revealed that in light of the Federal Court’s decision to dismiss its case against Westpac, it would review its updated regulatory guidance and consider the implications of the court’s decision on compliance practices.

ASIC issued its new guidance in December 2019, after holding two rounds of public consultation with industry stakeholders. 

The principles-based guidance was designed to provide lenders with greater clarity and flexibility amid uncertainty off the back of scrutiny from the banking royal commission. 

However, ASIC has stressed that prospective reforms of the NCCP Act to further clarify the enforcement of responsible lending obligations is “ultimately a matter for the federal government and Parliament”.

[Related: ANZ CEO laments responsible lending quagmire]

It’s clear to me: CBA CEO defends RG 209
CBA CEO defends RG 209

Are you a new-to-industry broker in the process of growing your business? Then there’s some great news: The Adviser’s New Broker Academy is back in 2021 and will provide you with essential insights into cutting-edge tools, strategies and processes to fast-track to success. Don’t miss your chance to attend. To secure your FREE place, visit newbroker.com.au now!

Charbel Kadib

Charbel Kadib is the news editor on the mortgages titles at Momentum Media.

Before joining the team in 2017, Charbel completed internships with public relations agency Fifty Acres, and the Department of Communications and the Arts.

You can email Charbel on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Latest News

OPINION: Debt-to-income ratio limits: do they help, or hinder? With the average property in Australian capital cities now over $700,000, l...

The Treasurer has met with regulators to discuss the housing market and consider whether “carefully targeted and timely adjustments” ...

The platform has become the first private sector exchange accredited under the ​​Trusted Digital Identity Framework. ...

Join Australia's most informed brokers

Do you know which lenders are providing brokers and their customers with the best service?

Use this monthly data to make informed decisions about which lenders to use. Simply contribute to the survey and we'll send you the results directly to your inbox - completely free!

How long do you think it should take to discharge a mortgage?

Website Notifications

Get notifications in real-time for staying up to date with content that matters to you.