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A strong industry association is vital to continuing to lift our industry voice, building our capabilities and achieving outcomes, and creating new connections for our future. Part of ensuring we have an industry association that is future-focused is making sure we continually invest, adapt, and create.
With this in mind, at the beginning of 2020, the AFIA Board considered the challenges ahead and adjusted our governance arrangements to ensure the we adopted the inclusive and agile decision-making architecture required to build organisational resilience and financial sustainability, and to create additional and ongoing value for our members and stakeholders. This transition meant the collapse of our Division Councils into a new thematic governance structure, with current representation and connectivity achieved through a combination of new membership groups. These new membership groups maintain the benefits of specialised member interactions and ensure attention to sector-specific issues without compromising cross-industry dialogue and outcomes.
The revamped governance structure meant a collaborative and whole of industry approach was adopted in order to leverage the diversity of our
membership, ensure clarity and efficiency of processes, and facilitate effective information flows between members.
This new structure also helps us create industry positions, including influencing decisions in real-time and escalating matters where there may be divergent opinions.
Additionally, the new governance structure meant the expansion of forums that create a space for thought leadership, with leaders in our membership playing a key role in building a narrative with the public. Our new sector-specific Industry Groups have helped us to bring unique insights to our advocacy activities, ensuring our discussions with decision-makers and key stakeholders are based on real industry and customer experiences from across our membership. We have been able to move quickly to gather intelligence and points of view to respond to government, regulator and consumer advocate queries as well as pre-empt issues, making sure we are best-placed to deal with changing conditions. This has improved our dialogue with decision-makers and key stakeholders and allowed us to influence the various economic stimulus packages to benefit the industry, our members, and the community.
Helping to address the fast moving and unknown variables that we continue to experience with the COVID-19 crisis, the new governance structure allows AFIA and our members to reshape and reposition the industry moving forward. As we enter new ways of doing business and understand how COVID normal impacts our work, our new structure is already proving a key change for the industry association.
Small and Medium Business Advisory Group: this group works with the AFIA team on identifying strategic opportunities for general and specific advocacy issues, relating to small and medium business lending and related activities.
Consumer Advisory Group: this group works with the AFIA team on identifying strategic opportunities for general and specific advocacy issues, relating to consumer lending and related activities.
Equipment Finance Industry Group: this group works with the AFIA team on identifying strategic opportunities for general and specific advocacy issues, relating to asset and equipment finance and leasing.
Motor Finance Industry Group: this group works with the AFIA team on identifying strategic opportunities for general and specific advocacy issues, relating to motor finance and associated financial services.
Fleet, Rental and Salary Packaging Industry Group: this group works with the AFIA team on identifying strategic opportunities for general and specific advocacy issues to promote more structured outreach with members, key stakeholders and influencers, relating to the fleet and vehicle management, car rental and salary packaging sectors.
Corporate Affairs Advisory Group: this group works with the AFIA team on identifying strategic communications and engagement tactics for general campaigns and specific advocacy issues to promote structured outreach with members, key stakeholders and influencers.
Health, Emergency & Crisis Tactics Industry Committee (HECTIC): this committee works with the AFIA team on matters arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, including legal, regulatory, commercial and reputation risks, focusing on influencing government initiatives and industry actions, designing policy settings, promoting economic reform, and the technical aspects of implementation of emergency responses.
Standing Committees Complaints Handling & Financial Hardship Standing Committee: this committee advises on matters related to internal and external dispute resolution, including in relation to regulatory guidance, systems and processes, hardship regulations, and best practice guidelines.
Regulation Standing Committee: this committee collaborates on regulatory, legal, and strategic matters relevant to all AFIA members, including in relation to the recommendations of the Royal Commission and developments in relation to competition in the financial services industry, such as level playing field in regulation. Identified strategic projects and specific industry consultations may be developed through associated technical working groups.
Technology & Innovation Standing Committee: this committee advises on matters related to data and payments, including as a priority consumer data right (open banking) matters, such as proposed functionalities and further extensions of the regime. Other matters may include the new payments platform and comprehensive credit reporting.
ACFA: this group advises and collaborates on matters related to AFCA, including consultations, data collection and procedural fairness. The review of AFCA will be a priority.
AML/Fraud: this group advises and collaborates on matters related to AML/CTF laws, cybercrime trends and regulations.
Car Rental: this group comprises car rental members, focusing on advocacy priorities, regulations, and the review of the code of practice. Collections: This is a cross-industry group that works collaboratively with the AFIA team on regulatory and all other matters related to collection practises, including to promote best practises.
Heavy Vehicle Financiers: this group is a sector-specific working group to advise on issues related to providing finance to the heavy vehicle industry, including regulatory matters specific to heavy vehicle financing.
Insurance Premium Funding: this group comprises insurance premium funders, focusing on advocacy priorities, regulations, and the development of the code of practice.
Mental Health: this group engages with members on managing mental health issues within their organisations as well as leverages the opportunity to share the finance industry’s approaches and experiences with key stakeholders such as the Minister for Small Business and the ASBFEO.
Point of Sale: this is a cross-industry group that works with the AFIA team to advise on matters related to the removal of the point of sale (POS) exemption.
Personal Property Securities Regulation: this group advises on issues related to personal property securities regulation (PPSR), including regulatory reforms as well as consultation and engagement with AFSA.
Privacy: this group advises on all privacy related matters, including proposed changes to the Privacy Act, and broader reforms such as the ACCC Digital Platforms Report.
Responsible Lending: this is a cross-industry group that works with the AFIA team to advise on matters related to responsible lending, including in relation to regulatory guidance, systems and processes (i.e. data collection and automation), regulations and best practises. The review of RG209 and engagement with ASIC on responsible lending matters will be a priority.