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Responsible lending

What you need to know

Responsible Lending regulations are in place to protect borrowers.

Doing the right thing by a customer while complying with a lender’s credit policy is not enough in the current regulatory environment. The reasons for your choices and decisions must be documented clearly in your application.

Lending decisions and broker recommendations are open to challenge up to seven years after loan origination. Failure to meet Responsible Lending requirements can result in significant penalties to lenders and brokers.

Information documented as part of a loan application is the primary defence against allegations of inappropriate conduct. So, providing accurate file notes of your conversations with borrowers as part of your loan application is an absolute must.

We require such documentation to be provided with your applications, not only to meet our obligations as a lending institution, but also to protect the professional reputation and future of our broker partners.

Your obligations

Put simply, the file notes in your loan applications need to show that you’ve:

Made reasonable inquiries about a borrower’s financial situation, objectives and product requirements.

Taken reasonable steps to verify a consumer’s financial situation.

Suggested a loan that is not unsuitable for a borrower’s purpose and objectives.

When to delve deeper

While we can’t list all scenarios, here are some tell-tale signs that an application requires further (documented!) enquiry:

  • Loan to Income Ratio is high (e.g. over 5 times)
  • Limited savings history
  • Percentage of borrower's income used to service loan is over 35%
  • Declared Living Expenses appear low
  • Loan term exceeds borrower's working life or retirement expectations
  • Discretionary income/savings will be minimal after loan settlement
  • Borrower wants an interest only loan for an owner-occupied property
  • Product complexity - e.g. fixed rate or interest only loans.

For more information please contact your local BDM.

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This website is for broker use only and any advice provided is of a general nature only. Information on this page can change without notice to you.
Credit provided by Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited ABN 11 068 049 178 AFSL / Australian Credit Licence 237879. GPO Box 1048, Adelaide SA 5001. Terms conditions and lending criteria apply.
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