The Australian Banking Association said the new standards represent the most significant increase to customer protections under a code in the industry’s history.
Australian Banking Association chief executive Anna Bligh said customers should see the changes immediately.
“Whether it’s through your credit card, home loan, small-business loan or just day-to-day banking, Australian customers will see tangible benefits from this new code,” said Ms Bligh.
In addition, Ms Bligh noted the new code will be strongly enforced by an independent body known as the Banking Code Compliance Committee and the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.
“We’ve completely rewritten the rule book for Australia’s banks. The Banking Code of Practice has strong protections for customers, serious consequences for breaches and strong independent enforcement,” said Ms Bligh.
Financial Counselling Australia chief executive Fiona Guthrie said the new code will protect the most vulnerable, marking an important step forward in restoring community trust in the banks.
“Codes like this really can make a difference because they go beyond black letter law and instead reflect the standards that an industry voluntarily commits to,” said Ms Guthrie.
Banks have trained more than 130,000 staff on the new requirements in order to get them ready for these changes.