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SYDNEY – Australian credit unions have been advised that they must be in compliance with the new Financial Services Reform Bill approved by Parliament March 11, 2004. Any credit union that introduces a new class of products before then must comply with the new regulations immediately. The regulations refer to investment and savings products, not lending products. They are designed to help consumers make informed decisions through proper disclosures, guides and statements of advice. Australian Financial Services Minister Joe Hockey announced the delay of the start after discussions with many financial service providers. The Credit Union Service Corporation of Australia (CUSCAL) was active in asking for a postponement. Both the minister and CUSCAL feel the two-year delay gives Australian credit unions time to meet their new requirements, including receiving proper training and obtaining the new required Financial Services License. CUSCAL is designing presentations for credit unions, which should be ready at the end of this year. The presentations will include a manual, familiarizing CUs with the new regulations. A training program is required by the new regulations after the credit union is issued its license. Training will help credit union employees offer proper financial investment advice. CUSCAL is working with Future Staff, an organization owned by credit unions to develop the materials. The exact date the program will be available has not yet been announced.

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