Push for Reinstatement of Digital Business Loan Signatures
(16 April 2021 – Australia) CBA has thrown its weight behind the push for regulators to permanently reinstate the acceptance of digital signatures on business loan documentation to reduce frustrating prolonged processing times.
eSignatures were temporarily allowed during COVID-19 to enable credit activities during social distancing and lockdown measures, yet this temporary provision expired in Q1 2021. The Senate will not review legislation until it sits again in May, but it has previously suggested that it will not review the bill enabling electronic signatures until August.
CBA CEO Matt Comyn expressed his disappointment with the government’s move as the Bank was forced to retract acceptance of digital signatures on commercial loans.
“Digital signatures have quite a substantial impact on turnaround times for business loans, in the order of six to 24 days. That has been our experience because, clearly, it takes a lot longer for a customer to then go and print out the documents that we provide them and then for them to sign and then send it back to us and then for us to process it” commented CBA CEO Matt Comyn at a hearing of the standing committee on economics during their ongoing review of the Big Four majors and other financial institutions.
“An electronic signature just simply enables a much faster facilitation of documents and ultimately gives customers greater certainty in a much shorter time frame. I think that would benefit small-business customers which, as I said earlier, are absolutely the lifeblood of the Australian economy and critical to the recovery” Mr Comyn added.