Dispute resolution scheme Financial Service Complaints Limited (FSCL) is applauding new protections and guidance for borrowers saying they will help it do its job better as the ‘middleman’.
FSCL Chief Executive Officer Susan Taylor said the new consumer credit laws and Responsible Lending Code along with a ‘companion’ Responsible Borrowing Code from the NZ Federation of Family Budgeting Services provided welcome clarity to FSCL and other dispute resolution schemes sitting in the middle of disputes between lenders and borrowers.
“The introduction of lender responsibility principles will make it very clear cut for us when assessing complaints. These require a lender to ensure they’re satisfied that the loan will meet the borrower’s needs and that the borrower will be able to repay the loan without suffering substantial hardship.”
Ms Taylor said FSCL was also pleased to see a ban on repossession of essential household items.
“In the past we’ve seen several cases where a lender has repossessed essential household goods of little value, such as old washing machines and fridges, just to put pressure on a borrower to increase their repayments to a level they can’t really afford.”
Ms Taylor said the Responsible Borrowing Code completed the picture by encouraging borrowers to make sure they can afford the repayments before entering into a loan, to look at options other than borrowing money, and to seek help and advice before signing a loan agreement.
“Bearing in mind that the decision to enter into a loan is a two-way street, it is great to see Family Budgeting Services taking this initiative.
“Borrowers should remember that if they have a problem with their loan, and feel the lender has treated them badly, there is an independent dispute resolution scheme they can go to for help at no cost,” said Ms Taylor.
Susan Taylor, Chief Executive Officer FSCL
P: (04) 472 3725
FSCL is an independent not-for-profit external dispute resolution scheme approved by the Minister for Consumer Affairs under the Financial Service Providers (Registration and Dispute Resolution) Act 2008. It was the first scheme to be approved and has been designed for and in consultation with the financial services industry on the principles of efficiency and effectiveness. It is governed by an independent Board with equal consumer and industry representatives, and an independent Chair.
FSCL provides dispute resolution services to participating financial service providers and their clients. The FSCL process focuses on resolving complaints through conciliation and assisted negotiation and is also able to make formal determinations which are binding on financial service providers. The FSCL process is free to consumers. For more information on FSCL visit www.fscl.org.nz
The other dispute resolution schemes in the financial services industry are the Banking Ombudsman, the Insurance and Savings Ombudsman and the Government’s reserve scheme, Financial Disputes Resolution. For more information about the financial services disputes resolution regime visit www.consumeraffairs.govt.nz/for-consumers/how-to-complain/financial-service-providers-disputes-resolution