The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission announced on Wednesday it has authorised the ASF - the industry body for participants in securitisation and covered bond markets in Australia - and its members to discuss how the Australian Office of Financial Management (AOFM) should administer the SFSF, including “providing their views to the AOFM about developing measures for issuing new debt, arranging appropriate funding arrangements, allowing for hardship relief for borrowers and ensuring the continued flow of funding to smaller lenders”.
Authorisation by the ASF follows the announcement of the federal government’s $15 billion Structured Finance Support Fund (SFSF), which will allow smaller authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs) and non-ADI lenders to access funding at competitive prices.
The ACCC says the interim authorisation will allow ASF Members to coordinate their input about how the scheme will be administered by the AOFM.
“The Structured Finance Support Fund is likely to be more quickly and effectively implemented when members of the ASF are allowed to work together to support the Australian Office of Financial Management in administering the fund,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.
“Many Australian smaller businesses and individuals rely on small lenders. Quick and effective implementation of the SFSF will help ensure that small lenders can continue to support these businesses by offering affordable credit during this very difficult time.
“It’s also crucial that competition in the loans market in Australia is maintained. The competition provided by small lenders needs to be supported to help mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19.
“It is important to note that ASF members are not authorised to exchange information about margins, costs, repayment terms or specific offers to customers. This is aimed at ensuring competition between lenders continues,” Sims cautioned.