125 organisations oppose Government’s plan to axe safe lending laws

Axing safe lending laws will be bad for people, bad for the economy and directly contradict the first recommendation of the banking royal commission, say leading voices across Australia


Speaking with one voice, Australia’s leading consumer advocacy organisations, charities, community, legal and family violence organisations, unions and financial counsellors have condemned the government’s plans to axe safe lending laws.


In a national open letter launched today, 125 organisations and 97 prominent Australians are urging Senators to block proposed weakening of safe lending laws which protect consumers from aggressive lending by financial institutions. Supporters of the open letter include ACTU, ACOSS, Anglicare, and a range of religious, community, legal and family violence organisations from across Australia.


The Open Letter is also supported by new national polling that shows that Australians expect lenders to check if credit is unaffordable. 79% of people think that banks should be required to always check a customer's ability to repay before offering a mortgage (only 4% disagree).[1]


Fiona Guthrie, CEO of Financial Counselling Australia said, “Many people are struggling financially at the moment and the last thing they need is to be loaded up with more debt. Financial counsellors see at first hand the harm caused to people and families when they struggle to make repayments.”


“We implore the Senate to listen to the warnings of financial counsellors, because our only interest is that of our client’s. We cannot in good conscience sit by and let these laws go through without doing what we can to stop them. That’s also why financial counsellors from around Australia are writing to their local politicians asking to meet. Politicians who would like to take us up on that offer - please get in touch so we can explain what we see in our day to day casework.”


“Even with the current responsible lending laws financial counsellors still see too many vulnerable people with too much debt. We despair at the thought that this will get worse.”


Alan Kirkland, CEO of CHOICE said, “Without safe lending protections many Australians will be exposed to the terrible lending practices we saw in the lead-up to the global financial crisis. We’re asking every Senator to help protect us from this happening again.” 


“We have seen what happens when banks are unregulated, with no penalties for bad behaviour. That’s why we had to have a royal commission. Nobody wants to go back to those days.”


“Vital organisations that assist millions of Australians have joined together to oppose these changes to lending laws. From community groups to domestic violence services and frontline legal assistance organisations, we know that removing these laws will hurt people.”


See the open letter at  https://choice.us4.list-manage.com/track/click?u=270103a13e38b9f6643b82a8e&id=3ea33b51ee&e=ac00f312d4

where you may add your name to the letter if you wish.


24 November 2020.