The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) will modify its approach to dispute resolution to take into account all regulatory and legislative changes announced as part of Australia’s COVID-19 response.
AFCA Chief Executive Officer and Chief Ombudsman David Locke said AFCA will support government and banking sector initiatives that assist small businesses and consumers to withstand the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19.
“AFCA recognises that strong and effective action is required to deal with these challenges,” Mr Locke said.
“We will take into account the unprecedented circumstances that financial firms are currently operating in when considering any complaints that may arise, as well as any revised regulatory standards or guidance that may apply.
“We also recognise the pressures on small business owners and consumers at this very difficult time.
“AFCA’s approach to handling COVID-19 related complaints will align with the statements released recently by the Council of Financial Regulators.
“AFCA has activated its significant event response plan that identifies and fast-tracks COVID-19 related complaints. We have also activated our business continuity plan which ensures that we will be able to continue to operate under changing conditions.”
AFCA is establishing a support hotline (1800 337 444), to ensure a priority service is provided for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be open from Tuesday 24 March.