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Australia is moving in Consumer Credit
From the latest newsletter of the International Association of Consumer Law  November 2009, Vol. 2, issue 2 ( edited by Christine Riefa, Brunel Law School, UK we learn about the efforts made in Australia to harmonise consumer credit law and introduce more effective elements, amove which follows the centralisation of consumer credit law in the US through the UCCC in the sixties and the recent development in Europe where the EU has passed a maximum harmonisation Consumer Credit Directive which to a large extent replaces national consumer credit disclosure law.
It seems as there is a worldwide tendency of legislation towards globalization following the globalization of the consuemr credit extension and its markets. While consumer organisations still try to defend their national achievements against this sometimes quite brutal imposition of world wide information models it seems to be more rewarding to focus on the contents instead of the form and orgin or scope of the legislation and develop a complementary set of rules like the seven principles of responsible credit in order to create a post-neo-liberal set of socially minded rules to protect consumers from usury, fraud, exploitation and overindebtedness.

We cite:

"In 2008 the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) decided that the Commonwealth Government should take responsibility for the regulation of consumer credit. The ensuing National Consumer Credit Protection Bill 2009 will see consumer credit products and services regulated by Commonwealth legislation rather than the former state and territory based system pursuant to the Uniform Consumer Credit Code (UCCC). The legislation will be applicable to inter alia home loans, personal loans, credit cards, overdrafts and line of credit accounts. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will administer the new legislation and become the national regulator for consumer credit and finance broking. The developments will be implemented in two stages. In the first phase, the Commonwealth will assume responsibility for the UCCC, by enacting the National Credit Code (NCC) as Commonwealth law. The National Consumer Credit Protection Bill 2009 contains provisions that mandate responsible lending and require finance brokers and lenders to be licensed. All providers and brokers of financial services will be required to be members of an external dispute resolution scheme. The second stage will address inter alia regulation of the provision of credit to small businesses, unsolicited credit card limit extension offers; interest rate caps and reverse mortgages."

More about the situation in Australia can be learned from Gail Pearson a member of IACL co-operating also with the Global Coalition for Responsible Credit (GCRC) in her latest book: Financial Services Law and Compliance in Australia, Cambridge University Press 2009
Until the 2008 global credit crisis, „financial services‟ was the fastest growing sector of the Australian economy. This growth has had profound implications for individuals, corporations and government. Following extensive review in the last part of the twentieth century, Australia put in place an overarching system for regulating all financial services, replacing a system that was based on separate regulation of products in individual industries. The new system continues to evolve. Focusing on the implications of the new system for retail clients – „financial citizens‟ – Financial Services Law and Compliance in Australia provides a comprehensive account of the regulatory structure and a detailed analysis of the legislative framework, including discussion of the new regulatory bodies, the new licensing requirements for those wishing to enter the financial services market and the new obligations for those marketing or offering financial services to the public. The book demonstrates that, as a result of our distinctive regulation, Australia is in a relatively good place to weather the global crisis in financial markets. It is an essential resource for those working in, and advising on, financial services, for students of financial services law, and for anyone needing to understand this new regime in Australia.

ID: 44635
Author(s): UR
Publication date: 09/11/09

Created: 09/11/09. Last changed: 09/11/09.
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