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SAS Group clients and National Credit Providers Association (NCPA) Board members Michael Rudd and Andrew Child attended the Responsible Lending and Borrowing Summit in Sydney earlier this week with SAS Senior Consultant Winston Harris.

The informative summit focused on financial literacy and compliance in an open banking world, while speakers discussed a range of topics including a focus on the buy now pay later (BNPL) sector and the small loans sector.

One of the more interesting sessions was the Socio-Economic Implications of Bad Credit that featured Gerard Brody from the Consumer Action Law Centre (CALC), the ACOSS CEO Peter McNamara, Tarek Ayoub from Cheq and Gabi Gerges from MCR Partners, and moderated by Andrea Beatty from Piper Alderman. Much of the discussion focussed on the BNPL sector, debating if the sector be regulated to comply with the NCCP Act or rather, should it be self-regulated under a Code of Conduct. There were many differing views however it’s probably fair to say the room was divided on this.

Similarly, in the discussion on the ‘payday’ sector as it was labelled, consumer activists advocated their view of further regulation for SACC providers which elicited some interesting responses from the audience once the Q&A started. NCPA Board member Andrew Child gave a vigorous defence of taking umbrage at being lumped in the same basket as a ‘payday’ lender that do not have to comply with the responsible lending obligations under the NCCP Act. Andrew pointed out that these lenders continue to operate using exemptions under the Credit Code to provide products that cause consumer harm. This information was welcomed by many in the room and highlighted the significant lack of awareness among many of the effort required by lenders to approve a SACC loan compared to the requirements for unregulated financial products.

The challenge for the sector remains – to ensure MPs understand the differences between the largely unregulated providers and SACC providers doing the right thing. Another significant point made at the session was the Bill, which is currently the subject of the Senate Inquiry, will not change anything for those who provide small loans using exemptions afforded under the Credit Code. The presence of the NCPA Board members at the conference was extremely worthwhile as every opportunity to provide factual information to our stakeholders is valuable.

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