Parliament recently approved Law 132/2013, which amends the Law on Securing Charges. It also passed the Law on the Payment System, which introduces financial collateral as a new form of collateral arrangement (alongside pledges and securing charges). For the purposes of this law, financial collateral comprises cash and financial instruments.
The Regulation on the Core Management Principles of Banks and Branches of Foreign Banks and the Criteria on the Approval of their Administrators entered into force in Summer 2009. The Bank of Albania has established that the key function of the Steering Council and the directorate is to ensure that banks and foreign branches have sufficiently robust internal structures to manage liquidity risk.
Parliament recently approved a law making Albania a party to the International Convention on Maritime Liens and Mortgages. The adoption of the convention will give Albanian banks and credit institutions greater guarantees for the recognition and enforcement of their security interests (ie, mortgages, hypotheques and charges) over seagoing vessels.
The Supervisory Council of the Bank of Albania has approved a new regulation on electronic payment instruments. The regulation aims to improve the framework for the issue and use of electronic payment instruments, as part of the bank's implementation of a function to create and supervise the secure and efficient operation of Albania's payments system.
Since the Macri administration took office in December 2015, several resolutions have been passed to encourage and simplify foreign investments in Argentina. Two recent Central Bank regulations relate to the relaxation of additional foreign exchange restrictions and a new bank account regime which makes it easier for foreign financial institutions to invest in Argentina.
In 2016 there were several regulatory developments regarding the use of technology in the financial sector. The Central Bank of Argentina issued regulations aiming to integrate technological innovations in the financial sector to promote greater formalisation of the economy, increase access to banking services and facilitate access to and use of digital tools. These regulations highlight the Central Bank's intention to promote the use of new technologies for legal and financial transactions.
Since December 2015, a series of measures have been implemented to deregulate and implement progressively more flexible regulations regarding foreign exchange controls. Among other things, the changes relate to the acquisition of foreign currency, financial indebtedness and the repatriation of direct and portfolio investments by non-Argentine residents.
The Argentine Central Bank recently enacted Communication A5295, establishing certain rules that regulate media and technology companies' payments abroad. The communication sets forth that if the payee is a foreign party that is directly or indirectly related to the paying party or to a foreign party that resides in a tax haven, payment for certain rights or services requires the prior approval of the Central Bank.
The Argentine Central Bank has recently issued Communication A4643, which extended the maximum term for the proceeds of foreign financial indebtedness to be transferred into Argentina and converted into pesos through the local foreign exchange market to 365 calendar days.
A recent decision by the Supreme Court of Victoria demonstrates how a material adverse change clause can be relied upon to terminate a commercial bill facility pursuant to a non-monetary event of default. If a lender reasonably believes that a material adverse change has occurred, an interlocutory application to restrain a lender from terminating a finance facility is unlikely to succeed.
In May 2005 the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) released a draft Prudential Standard on the governance of APRA-regulated institutions. The draft standard sets out the minimum governance requirements that all authorized deposit-taking institutions such as banks, building societies and credit unions must adhere to as part of their overall governance arrangements.
The Ministerial Council on Consumer Affairs has published a discussion paper proposing a uniform national regulatory scheme for finance and mortgage brokers. The scheme would require all brokers to undergo a licensing process involving a 'fit and proper person' test with various solvency and criminal probity checks.
Basel II revises the existing regime by creating a stronger link between risk and capital requirements. The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority has announced that Basel II will, over the next three years, be implemented in Australia and believes that the Australian banking system will be even safer and more efficient under the new regulatory structure.
The government is proposing to reform Australia's anti-money laundering system in accordance with recommendations made by the Financial Action Task Force on money laundering. Although a risk-based partnership approach should allow businesses to tailor policies, stricter reporting and due diligence obligations will be imposed on financial service providers in Australia.
Following a period of legal uncertainty and controversy, the Supreme Court has provided answers to the question of whether, against the backdrop of negative reference interest rates, a bank can unilaterally floor an overall floating interest rate at 0.00001%. Although the Supreme Court's decision is disappointing, it held that a decision rendered on an individual basis may come to other conclusions. Thus, this decision is unlikely to be the final word on this issue.
New almost EU-wide rules recently entered into force to support businesses in the recovery of debt from debtors in other EU countries. The regulation established a new procedure for creditors by providing common rules regarding jurisdiction and the procedure and conditions for freezing funds held by debtors in bank accounts located in the European Union. Austria has amended its Enforcement Code in order to provide the necessary framework for the procedures set out in the EU regulation.
Over the decades Austria has remained faithful to its banking secrecy by being a late adopter, if at all, of international standards for exchanging information regarding bank accounts. However, the recent amendments to the legal framework have put an end to this and led to a material softening of banking secrecy in Austria. Among other things, the legislature introduced new laws carefully tailored to remove legal obstacles based on banking secrecy that prevented – or at least impeded – tax collection.
The Supreme Court recently dismissed a victim's claim to refund an unauthorised payment transaction against his bank and held that, among other things, a bank may offset its obligation to refund an unauthorised transaction with its claim for damages against the account holder. However, the court failed to provide long-awaited guidance on the criteria to be applied when assessing the various degrees of fault that potentially limit the liability of payment service users.
The Supreme Court recently held that one-off loan processing fees charged by banks are lawful. Based on a detailed assessment, and while outlining the material differences between Austrian and German law, the Supreme Court held that one-off loan processing fees qualify as contractually agreed principal performance obligations that are not subject to the control of unfair terms under Section 879(3) of the Civil Code.
Azerbaijani law recognizes both promissory notes (simple veksels) and bills of exchange (transferable veksels). New banking and finance rules on transferable veksels are pending at both the Ministry of Finance and the National Bank, although it is difficult to predict whether these will cause a veksel market to develop.
The new Civil Code of Azerbaijan equips the local commercial and banking community with specific provisions on factoring operations, suretyship and bank guaranties.
The new Azerbaijani Civil Code has updated local banking law to reflect the needs of modern commerce. In contrast to the civil codes of other countries of the former Soviet Union, the code is now better designed for commercial transactions.