The Commerce Commission is holding its first ‘Credit Matters Roundtable’ in South Auckland today with a wide range of community organisations in attendance.
Today’s roundtable is the first in a series of three, each focusing on a different group of organisations involved in consumer credit markets (community organisations, government agencies and lenders). The events are designed to increase engagement and develop a community of interest in credit markets.
The event aims to give community organisations a better understanding of the role of the Commission, its approach to enforcement and the work it is currently doing in the area of credit markets. It also provides an opportunity for the Commission to hear about current and emerging issues from those working within the community.
“Community organisations play a large role in helping and protecting consumers, particularly vulnerable consumers. The Commission wants to create a community of interest around credit markets so that we can all work together towards a common goal – to better protect consumers, said Fazleen Ismail, Commerce Commission Advocacy Manager.
“We want to ensure that we hear about consumer harm from all areas of society and all parts of New Zealand, as early as possible. Creating this community of interest around credit markets helps ensure the Commission is aware of emerging issues as quickly as possible and can take action where appropriate,” Ms Ismail said.
The roundtable takes place ahead of changes to the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003 (CCCFA) which come into effect next year. These changes include the introduction of lender responsibility principles. These principles mean lenders who enter into consumer credit contracts must act responsibly in relation to advertising and in all subsequent dealings with borrowers and guarantors. The principles also include a responsibility for lenders to make reasonable enquiries to ensure that the borrowers and guarantors can make payments without substantial hardship. The lender will be required to assist both borrowers and guarantors to make an informed decision. Other changes to the CCCFA include a significant increase in penalties for breaching the Act.
The next event in the series will involve government agencies and dispute resolution services and will take place later this year. The third and final event involves lenders and will take place early in 2015.