ASIC has cancelled the Australian credit licence of Urban Commercial Group Pty Ltd (Urban Commercial Group).
Urban Commercial Group, which is now known as General Commercial Group Pty Ltd and trades as ‘Super Finance’, has been the holder of a credit licence since 28 June 2018, and offered credit assistance to consumers in applying for home, vehicle or personal loans.
On 12 November 2020, the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) expelled Urban Commercial Group from its membership on the grounds that it had:
- refused or neglected to comply with AFCA’s Constitution, or the Applicable Rules, or with any binding decision made under the Applicable Rules; and
- failed to pay monies owing to AFCA within 30 days of receiving a notice requiring payment.
On 11 February 2021, ASIC served Urban Commercial Group with a notice of hearing pursuant to s55 of the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (Cth) (the NCCP Act). The notice advised that ASIC was considering whether to suspend or cancel the credit licence over concerns that Urban Commercial Group mayhave contravened its licence obligations by not being a member of AFCA
A hearing was scheduled for 16 March 2021 to give Urban Commercial Group an opportunity to be heard. However, Urban Commercial Group advised that it had taken on board ASIC’s concerns raised in the notice and lodged an application with ASIC to cancel its credit licence on the ground that the “Entity is no longer intending to engage in credit activities.”
ASIC was satisfied that in the circumstances it was in the public interest to cancel the credit licence of a company without AFCA membership.
ASIC also imposed additional conditions specifying that Urban Commercial Group must maintain compensation arrangements until 11 March 2023 and must lodge an Annual Compliance Certificate with ASIC no later than 45 days after its licensing anniversary in 2021.
Financial firms must have membership of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), as well as a dispute resolution system consisting of internal dispute resolution (IDR) procedures that meets ASIC standards and requirements. Each year, the IDR and external dispute resolution (EDR) framework provides access to redress for many tens of thousands of Australian consumers, small businesses and superannuation fund members who have a complaint against a financial firm.
The additional conditions are intended to provide protection that maintains consumer access to run-off cover by potential claims that may come to light for a reasonable period after General Commercial Group ceases business.
ASIC expects credit licensees to do all things necessary to meet their obligations under the NCCP Act and comply with their licence conditions.
Under the NCCP Act, ASIC has the power to cancel or suspend a credit licence if a licensee fails to meet its obligations.