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Minister welcomes progress to help consumers escape debt

Minister welcomes progress to help consumers escape debt

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Hon Kris Faafoi has welcomed progress to make safer financial services available to people in need, including a new initiative to allow banks and financial mentors to share information to help their clients.

Financial Inclusion Industry Forum partners met with the Minister recently, reporting back on work underway across four work streams covering emergency savings, inclusive banking, cars and car finance and microfinance. The Forum partners also supported development of a privacy waiver to speed-up the process for people wanting their bank and financial mentor to share information.

“Financial capability and budgeting services offer free, confidential financial mentoring and advice to people to help them manage their money better. It used to be complicated for a client to enable banks to share their account and other information with their mentor.

“Having a standard privacy waiver for all retail banks will assist clients and budgeting services, saving them time and ultimately letting them get on with getting their finances under control and achieving their goals.

“I’d like to congratulate the New Zealand Bankers’ Association and FinCap for undertaking this work, and the other Forum partners for their support in getting this initiative across the line. This kind of cross-sector collaboration is critical if we want to create a safer environment for borrowing, alongside the work the Government is doing to crack down on irresponsible lending practices.

“The reality is there is a need for borrowing and many people do borrow to buy the things they need. However, with the CCCFA putting an end to the very worst of predatory lending behaviour,we need to ensure there’s appropriate support and safe, accessible alternatives to enable borrowing that meets people’s needs in an affordable way.

“I look forward to seeing what more the Forum partners can do to encourage safe lending and to support vulnerable consumers,” says Mr Faafoi.

The Forum brought together business, government and community agencies. It aimed to ensure vulnerable consumers who need to borrow can do so safely.

The Forum partners are: the New Zealand Bankers’ Association, Financial Services Federation, Good Shepherd New Zealand, Banking Ombudsman, FinCap, Commission for Financial Capability, Ministry for Social Development and Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment.

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