Framework for representing hardship arrangements in consumer credit reporting
On 2 August 2019, the Attorney-General announced legislative amendments to allow reporting of consumer financial hardship information. This is an outcome of last year's review into financial hardship arrangements.
The amendments will indicate to credit providers those customers who have entered into financial hardship arrangements. They will also enable people experiencing financial difficulty to demonstrate good credit reporting behaviour by complying with the hardship arrangement.
Under the proposed changes, hardship indicators will identify where a hardship arrangement is in place and whether a consumer is making payments in accordance with that arrangement. A separate indicator will show where there has been an agreed permanent variation to a credit contract. Hardship information will be subject to broadly the same protections as repayment history information concerning collection, use and disclosure under the Privacy Act, but will be subject to a shorter retention period.
The guidance outlines the key features of the proposed amendments.
The changes will support the Government's mandatory comprehensive credit reporting regime, which will increase lending competition and deliver better deals for Australian consumers. An exposure draft of the proposed legislation is now open for public consultation and is available on the Treasury's website.