Updated responsible lending guidance published

Published: 11 February 2021

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has today published updated guidance to help lenders comply with their responsible lending obligations.

‘MBIE has updated the Responsible Lending Code to reflect changes to consumer credit legislation,’ James Hartley, General Manager, Commerce, Consumers and Communications, says.

‘The Code also contains updated guidance on working with borrowers who have difficulties repaying their loan. During the first COVID-19 lockdown last year, lenders noted that the Code needed to provide them with greater clarity and flexibility in relation to borrowers facing significant uncertainty.

‘Changes to the Code include outlining what lenders should do when people miss payments, exceed their credit limit, or experience unforeseen financial hardship.’

Other changes to the Code include guidance on new legal requirements about:

  • advertisements, loans and other consumer credit contracts
  • record-keeping requirements for lenders around how they check whether it is likely a loan is suitable and affordable for a borrower
  • helping borrowers to make informed decisions when taking on a new loan online.

Mr Hartley says the Code was developed with input from the Code Advisory Group, which includes representatives from the financial sector, consumer advocates, academics and the Commerce Commission. It was then released for public consultation and updated in response to feedback.

‘I thank all those who have provided input into the development of the Code, and in particular the Code Advisory Group who provided advice under very tight timeframes. We were working quickly to give lenders as much time as possible for implementation.’

Most of the updated Code will come into effect on 1 October 2021, at the same time as the law changes it references. The new Chapter 12, which contains guidance on missed payments and repayment difficulties, will come into force four months later.

Read the Responsible Lending Code [PDF, 1.3 MB]

Background

The updated Responsible Lending Code complements a suite of changes the Government has made to protect consumers from high-cost loans and unaffordable debt. This includes changes in the Credit Contracts Legislation Amendment Act requiring lenders to carry out income and expense checks when considering whether to grant a top-up loan or increase a credit limit.

More information about changes to consumer credit law

MBIE media contacts

Phone: 027 442 2141
Email: media@mbie.govt.nz