该守则由小企业检查机构ASBFEO、FinTech Australia和中小企业发展倡导者Bank Doctor通过共同谈判协商达成。
Australia's fintech industry will 'self-regulate' after an important report found some SME borrowers felt deceived by fintech lenders' practices.
Facing calls for transparency on interest rates and fees, Aussie fintechs have agreed to self-regulate and abide by a code of conduct.
The code will require lenders to disclose their interest rates, disclose additional fees and present their loans in a standardised way that allows borrowers to compare them.
The code will also, it is hoped, weed out some of the nastier lending clauses that are hidden in borrowers’ contracts. These have included clauses that require borrowers to pay out the interest they contracted to pay over time, even if they repay their loan early.
The agreement comes after several weeks of negotiation between three parties: the small business ombudsman ASBFEO, lobby group FinTech Australia, and SME advocate the Bank Doctor, and in response to an important report published by the three groups.
The 57-page report, entitled ‘Fintech lending to small and medium-sized enterprises’, found fintechs were doing important work plugging a funding gap left by the banks. Tighter lending restrictions introduced since the 2008 financial crisis together with the (relatively) small profits SME loans generate has meant banks have mostly vacated SME lending in Australia. The banks' departure has created a void for fintechs to fill, the report noted.
Fintechs filling this void has broad-based support from both major political parties, the report found. Thus the government had rolled out supportive legislation, including a regulation-free “sandbox” for fintechs to play in, and laws mandating an open banking standard, a major demand from fintech companies.