Wednesday, 08 April 2020 12:48

ACCC authorises Australian Securitisation Forum members to ‘work together’ during COVID-19 crisis Featured

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Australia’s competition regulator the ACCC has granted interim authorisation for members of the Australian Securitisation Forum (ASF) to work together to assist smaller lenders to maintain liquidity and issue loans to consumers and small businesses during the “economic disruption” caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission announced on Wednesday it has authorised the ASF - the industry body for participants in securitisation and covered bond markets in Australia - and its members to discuss how the Australian Office of Financial Management (AOFM) should administer the SFSF, including “providing their views to the AOFM about developing measures for issuing new debt, arranging appropriate funding arrangements, allowing for hardship relief for borrowers and ensuring the continued flow of funding to smaller lenders”.

Authorisation by the ASF follows the announcement of the federal government’s $15 billion Structured Finance Support Fund (SFSF), which will allow smaller authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs) and non-ADI lenders to access funding at competitive prices.

The ACCC says the interim authorisation will allow ASF Members to coordinate their input about how the scheme will be administered by the AOFM.

“The Structured Finance Support Fund is likely to be more quickly and effectively implemented when members of the ASF are allowed to work together to support the Australian Office of Financial Management in administering the fund,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“Many Australian smaller businesses and individuals rely on small lenders. Quick and effective implementation of the SFSF will help ensure that small lenders can continue to support these businesses by offering affordable credit during this very difficult time.

“It’s also crucial that competition in the loans market in Australia is maintained. The competition provided by small lenders needs to be supported to help mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19.

“It is important to note that ASF members are not authorised to exchange information about margins, costs, repayment terms or specific offers to customers. This is aimed at ensuring competition between lenders continues,” Sims cautioned.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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