The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), in conjunction with the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) and Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), has announced a number of changes to the reporting obligations of authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs) and registered financial corporations (RFCs).
The changes come in response to the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent economic downturn caused by the virus, which is taking priority for the regulators.
According to APRA, the changes are intended to “balance the need for entities to dedicate time and resources to maintaining their operations and supporting customers, against the increased need for timely, accurate data” for use in this challenging economic environment.
The changes apply to all ADIs and RFCs and are effective immediately.
The changes are as follows:
Extension of timelines for notifications under BEAR
Under powers provided to it under the Banking Act 1959, APRA has decided to extend the 14-day period for notification of changes to accountability statements and maps to 30 days. The legislation to make such a change will take effect rom Monday, 6 April.
According to APRA, where changes to statements and maps occurred during the 14-day period prior to 31 March 2020, notification will be accepted as compliant if provided to APRA within 30 days of the change occurring.
New SME lending reporting requirements
In order to support the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme, APRA has announced it will be implementing a new reporting standard with immediate effect. Details of this standard are expected to be released later in the week.
Changes to due dates for quarterly reporting
APRA has previously consulted on standardising the due dates for all quarterly reporting forms and has now temporarily extended reporting due dates and expanded the proposal to cover all quarterly reporting by ADIs and RFCs.
Under the temporary changes, forms that were previously due prior to the 35th calendar day after the last day of the reference quarter will now be due on the 35th calendar day.
Forms that were due after the 35th calendar day will continue to be due on the existing due date.
APRA, in consultation with the ABS and RBA, has decided to not grant any further blanket extensions to reporting due dates, nor to relax the governance requirements applying to reporting to APRA.
According to APRA, having timely and accurate data is essential for prudential supervision, for the monitoring of financial stability, the formulation of monetary policy, and to support government policy, especially in this “period of volatility”.
Additionally, the query process for monthly reporting will be extended, with queries to be sent on the third business day after the due date.
Reporting entities will then have three business days to respond to queries, and similar extensions will be granted for quarterly reporting.
Deferral of certain new reporting standards
Given the current operating environment, APRA, the RBA and the ABS have deferred the implementation of two new reporting standards: Reporting Standard ARS 730.1 ABS/RBA Fees Charged, and Reporting Standard ARS 722.0 ABS/RBA Derivatives.
These reporting standards will now only be applied to reporting periods ending on or after 31 March 2021, and all ADIs and RFCs are exempt from reporting for periods prior to this date.
The RBA will conduct the existing bank fees survey for one more year.
Deferral of proposal to determine certain ADI data non-confidential
Late last year, APRA proposed, and sought consultation, to determine certain data reported by ADIs as non-confidential.
In consideration of the current operating environment, the proposals outlined by APRA have been deferred until further notice.
Continuation of certain parallel reporting for ADIs and RFCs
Maintaining consistent data sources regarding the finance sector’s revenue and expenses for March and June 2020 is “vitally important” for accurately measuring the economic impacts of COVID-19, APRA said.
It will therefore temporarily reinstate ARS 331.0 and RRS 331.0 and require ADIS and RFCs to continue to report these forms for reporting periods ending on or before 30 June 2020, with the due date extended to the 40th calendar day after the end of the reporting period.
APRA stated it will accept this reporting on a best endeavours basis.
Further, reporting of QBIS will continue via the ABS, with the due date extended to 28 April 2020 and 28 July 2020, for the March and June quarters, respectively.
“APRA acknowledges the current operating environment places strain on an entity’s ability to meet its reporting obligations. However, the provision of timely and accurate data is essential to enable the agencies and the government to adequately respond to events as they rapidly unfold, and is therefore a priority,” it said in a letter to lenders.
“APRA therefore seeks the cooperation of reporting entities in ensuring reporting obligations are met in the interest of the Australian community.”