New credit reporting laws a win for customers
During COVID-19, banks agreed on a consistent and fair approach to credit reporting for customers approaching the end of their initial COVID-19 deferral period
In April 2020, ABA member banks agreed that customers who deferred their loans as part of a COVID-19 assistance offering would not have missed repayments reflected on their credit report. This was an industry first, ensuring customers were not unduly impacted because of the crisis.
As the initial loan deferral period came to an end, and the next phase of support for those still experiencing financial difficulty began, Australia’s banks agreed on a new set of credit reporting principles aimed to help reduce stress and give customers much-needed breathing space.
Loan deferrals not reported to credit bureau
Customers’ credit report did not include a note that they had a loan deferral.
Missed payments not recorded
Banks agreed not to record missed payments on credit report during the extension. Repayment history information was be reported as up to date or blank, depending on the payment status when the customer applied for the deferral.
Credit history unchanged
If a customer was up to date with repayments prior to application for a deferral, they exited with up-to-date repayment history information. This applied whether they recommenced repayments or the loan was restructured.
Hardship arrangements unreported
For customers that entered into another form of hardship or forbearance arrangement with their bank, banks did not report the repayment history information. Instead, they left the field blank for the duration of the arrangement.
Principles for consumer credit reporting during COVID-19
ABA member banks agreed to adhere to the following principles for loans reaching the end of their initial COVID-19 deferral period.
- Customers that were up to date with loan repayments prior to their application for deferral will exit with:
- up-to-date repayment history information if they recommence repayments, their loan is restructured, or they are granted an extension to their deferral period; or
- a credit report that begins to have no repayment information entered if they agree to another form of hardship arrangement.
2. Customers that were in arrears prior to their application for deferral will exit with:
- will exit with up-to-date repayment history information if they catch up their arrears prior to exiting or their loan is restructured;
- will exit with improved repayment history information where partial payments have been made prior to exiting;
- will exit with a credit report that continues to have no repayment information entered if they are granted an extension to their deferral period or enter another form of forbearance arrangement; or
- should contact their bank to discuss next steps if they are otherwise due to commence full repayments.
These principles applied until end of March 2021