BFCSA Blog

Led by award-winning consumer advocate Denise Brailey, BFCSA (Inc) are a group of people who are concerned about the appalling growth of Loan Fraud around the world. BFCSA (Inc) is a not for profit organisation in the spirit of global community concern and justice.

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Westpac, NAB miss Kenneth Hayne's deadline for huge data dump Australian Financial ReviewFeb 13 2018 8:00 PM James Frost   Westpac and NAB failed to meet the banking royal commission's Tuesday 4pm deadline for a second and comprehensive report on misconduct going back five years, risking the wrath of Commissioner Kenneth Hayne. The Australian Financial Review understands Westpac has been unable to provide the commission with all of the information it has been asked for and will file a further report or reports over coming days. The bank's multi-brand strategy, which includes St George, Bank SA and Bank of Melbourne, is believed to add to the complexity of the request. A spokesperson for Westpac said the bank was lodging a comprehensive response to the request on Tuesday. "Westpac understands the important work of the Commission and seeks to work co-operatively and constructively with it," the spokesperson said. NAB is believed to...
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  Banking royal commission circles new targets over car loans Australian Financial Review Feb 13 2018 6:00 PM James Frost   Specialist lenders including Macquarie Group, Toyota Financial Services and Latitude Finance will join the big four banks as Hayne royal commission targets when providers of car loans come under the microscope for poor lending standards and gouging customers. The auto finance market was singled out by the royal commission as a key area of interest after early investigations revealed examples of lending that were not conducted honestly or fairly. The dealer finance market is dominated by Toyota, Westpac and Macquarie with the finance arms of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Nissan close behind. Among the worrying business practices that have been discovered to date are irresponsible lending, flex commissions and junk insurance. The royal commission on Monday said it was interested in completed case studies of misconduct, which suggests it will focus...
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  CBA borrowers stung in switch The Australian 12:00AM February 14, 2018   Commonwealth Bank will hit some home loan customers with tens of thousands of dollars extra in interest charges by extending the life of loans. The lender, which has the biggest share of the nation’s mortgage market, has notified borrowers of changes to repayments and ­to redraw balances, some of them beginning this week, the Herald Sun reported last night. The changes come as the royal commission declared home loans, car loans and credit cards would be put under the microscope at its first public hearing next month, with the inquiry ­already uncovering evidence that lenders may have breached the law by failing to treat borrowers “honestly and fairly”. CBA will now automatically ­reduce minimum mortgage repayments for customers if their interest rate falls, the newspaper reports. Borrowers who want their repayments to remain at the original level will...
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Banking Royal Commission: Kenneth Hayne's pop-up commission no crowd-pleaser Australian Financial Review Feb 12 2018 9:36 PM Patrick Durkin   Royal Commissioner Kenneth Hayne was always going to run a tight ship. But a few telltale signs from Monday's scripted hearing, revealed just how far removed from a media and political circus Hayne wants things to run. When aggrieved NAB customer Dennis Sgargetta provided the only unscripted moment by jumping up at the conclusion of events to quote something called the ninth divine law, Hayne maintained his deadpan, matter of fact manner, simply repeating that the hearing was now adjourned. Outside the Fair Work Commission in Melbourne, a handful of onlookers mingling outside asked why the hearing had finished so quickly, "So they will get into things full-steam tomorrow?" they asked expectantly. No, the commission will be working "behind the scenes" for the next month, before the first public hearings pop-up...
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Big banks rapped for missing dirty laundry list  deadline! http://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/big-banks-rapped-for-missing-dirty-laundry-list-deadline-20180211-p4yzzo.html Sarah Danckert   SMH Major financial institutions have been admonished by the banking royal commissioner, Kenneth Hayne, after it emerged some had been unable to properly complete a list of their misconduct within the requested timeframe. The big four banks are understood to have rankled Commissioner Hayne by submitting incomplete 'rap sheets' despite being asked to detail all circumstances of poor banking behaviour. The criticism came on the first day of the royal commission into misconduct in the banking superannuation and financial services industry, which will first review consumer credit products including home loans, credit cards and other loans like car loans. In an opening statement in Melbourne on Monday, Commissioner Hayne revealed that some large financial institutions had indicated they would not be able to meet the royal commission’s deadline to complete their full list of dirty laundry by Tuesday. Major...
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Banks royal commission: Banks miss first downpayment The Australian 12:00am February 13, 2018 Ben Butler   Commonwealth Bank and ­National Australia Bank earned the wrath of financial services royal commissioner Kenneth Hayne on the inquiry’s opening day by telling him they cannot meet a deadline of 4pm today to provide full details about misconduct over the past five years. Both banks intend to file as much as they can by today’s deadline but expect to have to file ­additional material later. Opening the commission yesterday, Mr Hayne complained that financial services institutions had told him they needed more time to compile information about their misconduct, even though they had already made 50-page submissions about both misconduct and behaviour that did not meet “community expectations” stretching back to 2008. His opening comments give some insight into how Mr Hayne intends to conduct the hearings, which have a tight one-year timetable given the...
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Waive confidentiality or face a parallel Senate bank inquiry Australian Financial Review Feb 12 2018 9:57 AM Tom McIlroy   A key Nationals senator behind the push for a banking royal commission says the first day of hearings has left uncertainty for customers who have signed confidentiality agreements with institutions, describing the situation as "clear as mud". NSW National John 'Wacka' Williams said royal commissioner Kenneth Hayne needed to clarify what protections would be afforded to victims of poor behaviour who had signed non-disclosure agreements with regional banks, life insurance companies and superannuation funds. Mr Hayne, a former High Court judge, used the first sitting in Melbourne on Monday to warn institutions planning to enforce non-disclosure agreements or confidentiality clauses they would face "immediate consequences" which could include powers to compel information. "The very fact that an institution sought to inhibit or prevent the disclosure of the information would excite the...
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Royal commission strangled before it begins   Adele Ferguson  9th Feb 2018   Farcical, damp squib, paper tiger, stillborn. They are just a few of the words being used to describe the long awaited and much needed royal commission into financial services. For me the royal commission is shaping up as disappointing – even before it has begun. A ridiculously tight budget, a short timeline, extremely broad terms of reference and an exclusion from looking at anything that might "prejudice, compromise or duplicate" another inquiry or court proceedings threaten to strangle it. The financial services sector is a complex, opaque and powerful industry with deep pockets. The royal commission itself estimates at the end of September 2017, Australian deposit taking institutions held $4.6 trillion in assets, which is two-and-a-half times the size of Australia's $1.8 trillion economy as measured by GDP. It is the lifeblood of the economy and covers many...
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Bad WA home loans push CBA delinquencies up to four-year high Australian Financial Review Feb 7 2018 5:54 PM Michael Bleby   CBA home loan arrears jumped in WA in the six months to December, pushing the lender's overall bad loan book to its highest level in more than four years. The largest mortgage lender, which reported a weaker-than-expected a cash profit of $4.73 billion on Wednesday, said home loans 90 or more days in arrears accounted for about 0.6 per cent of its loan book in the first half of the year as the proportion of bad loans in the mining state picked up to about 1.3 per cent, well above Queensland, the closest region in terms of arrears. "Loan impairment expense was $356 million, an increase of 1 per cent on the prior comparative period," CBA said. "The result was mainly driven by increased home loan and personal loan...
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APRA boss Wayne Byres 'not declaring victory' even as investor lending drops 10pc Australian Financial Review Feb 9 2018 2:59 PM Michael Bleby, James Eyers   Australia's top banking regulator refused to call an end to tighter credit restrictions that have slowed investor lending, even as new figures showed investor loans fell at their fastest yearly pace in 18 months in December. In his first public comments since Treasurer Scott Morrison told The Australian Financial Review that macroprudential lending measures could be eased, APRA chairman Wayne Byres on Friday said banks' loan portfolios were improving but it was too soon to release the brakes on the temporary measures. The environment of high dwelling prices, high household debt levels, low interest rates and weak wages growth that triggered the initial concerns and prompted the regulator to direct lenders to rein in riskier types of loans "hasn't changed greatly over the past 12...
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Property slump could push the economy into recession, top economists warn Australian Financial Review Feb 9 2018 6:18 PM Duncan Hughes   Falling property prices in Sydney and Melbourne could cause the nation's wealthiest consumers to cut back sharply on spending and drive the economy into recession, according to leading economists. Belt tightening by the biggest spenders and most highly geared property investors could have the "unintended consequence" of seriously squeezing retail spending, their research finds. Growth in consumer spending – which accounts for nearly 60 per cent of gross domestic product – could fall by half over the next 12 months, weakening economic growth unless offset by major capital expenditure by governments and business, economists warn. Daniel Blake, chief economist for investment bank Morgan Stanley, said: "A slowing housing market could force reassessment of gearing and lead to a household balance sheet recession. This is the most likely cause of...
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Banking royal commission puts lawyers on notice The Australian 12:00am February 10, 2018 Ben Butler   High-powered QCs hired by Australia’s big banks will be severely limited in how much they can question the credibility of witnesses to the sector’s scandals who give evidence at the royal commission into financial services. In a practice guideline published to its website, the commission said that “cross-examination of witnesses will be by leave only” and “repetitive questioning” would not be permitted. “As the commission is conducting an inquiry, and not a ­judicial proceeding, cross-examination that raises collateral matters going only to credit will not be permitted,” it said. The banking commission, helmed by former High Court judge Kenneth Hayne, begins on Monday but is already mired in confusion after being unable to clarify whether or not victims and employees should make submissions to it that break gag clauses in settlement deals. Despite the commission’s...
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Batting for the banks: top silks get ready for royal commission Sydney Morning HeraldFeb 10 2018 - 1:03am Sarah Danckert   The biggest legal show in the country is about to open in Melbourne when former High Court justice Kenneth Hayne’s Financial Services Royal Commission (FSRC) begins its public hearings next week. And there's no shortage of stars given the raft of top QCs required to serve the sheer number of financial institutions involved in the short-tenured 12 month inquiry. The big financial services outfits have set up ‘war rooms’ within their respective headquarters where executives and teams of inhouse and external lawyers will watch the proceedings on a live feed. The list of big name silks - the sort of barristers that often charge five figures for a day's work - recruited by the big four banks, AMP, Macquarie indicate the financial institutions involved are taking the matter very seriously....
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Royal commissioner Kenneth Hayne zeroes in on ANZ, CBA, NAB, Westpac profits Australian Financial Review Feb 9 2018 3:52 PM James Frost   Commissioner Kenneth Hayne has dropped his biggest hint yet as to the focus of his inquiry after publishing a paper that focuses on the level of competition in banking and the elevated returns on equity produced by the big four banks. The Royal Commission into misconduct in the banking, superannuation and financial services industry released the 27 page background paper exploring the structure of the Australian banking Industry without warning on Friday. The inquiry kicks off on Monday with Commissioner Hayne expected to deliver a televised statement. Titled 'Some Features of the Australian Banking Industry', the paper looks carefully at the bumper profits delivered by the big four banks including the $35.9 billion in profit made in the year to September 2017. The banks have gone to considerable...
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'Precarious': Is CBA making too much money from its customers? Sydney Morning Herald Feb 8 2018 - 12:40pm Clancy Yeates   An earnings boom in Commonwealth Bank's flagship retail banking arm has triggered predictions the division's profitability may be unsustainably high, as banks face pressure to put more emphasis on customers' interests over those of shareholders. The standout performer in CBA's result this week , which was marred by a spike in regulatory costs, was the retail banking division led by the next chief executive of the banking giant, Matt Comyn. The division includes CBA's vast consumer-facing bank, and its earnings swelled by 8 per cent to $2.7 billion, helped by a move to charge higher interest rates on property investor loans. But with regulators applying the blowtorch to the banking sector, analysts questioned how sustainable it was for CBA's biggest division to be making so much money from its customers....
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Royal commission confusion over non-disclosure The Australian 12:00am February 9, 2018 Ben Butler   Confusion reigned at the royal commission into the banks last night, just days ahead of its first day of hearings, after the Kenneth Haynes-helmed inquiry was unable to say whether it stood by a statement warning financial services victims against making submissions to it that breached non-disclosure clauses in settlement deals. The big four banks yesterday scrambled to pledge they would not enforce confidentiality clauses against witnesses to the commission after influential Nationals Senator John Williams warned that if they did not do so he would set up a parallel Senate inquiry. This would be able to receive evidence under parliamentary privilege that could then be passed on to the royal commission. Under privilege rules, witnesses to a Senate inquiry are immune to lawsuit over their evidence, even if it breaches a non-disclosure agreement. The royal commission, which...
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Ten signs we’re heading for ‘economic armageddon’ news.com.au Feb 8, 2018 3:14pm Frank Chung   THIS week’s global share market bloodbath was “a small tremor before the big earthquake” as Australia moves “ever closer to economic armageddon”, a former government economist has warned. John Adams, a former Coalition policy adviser who last year identified seven signsthat the global economy was heading for a crash — later warning the window for action had closed — believes the $4 trillion wipe-out was just the opening act of his apocalyptic prophecy playing out. “When the economic earthquake hits, don’t be surprised to see soaring interest rates, massive falls in asset prices [like] shares, real estate and bonds, higher unemployment and widespread bankruptcies,” he said. Adding to previously identified economic indicators such as household debt and record low interest rates, Mr Adams has expanded his list of warning signs to 10, including rising inflation —...
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Bad WA home loans push CBA delinquencies up to four-year high Australian Financial Review Feb 7 2018 5:54 PM Michael Bleby   CBA home loan arrears jumped in WA in the six months to December, pushing the lender's overall bad loan book to its highest level in more than four years. The largest mortgage lender, which reported a weaker-than-expected a cash profit of $4.73 billion on Wednesday, said home loans 90 or more days in arrears accounted for about 0.6 per cent of its loan book in the first half of the year as the proportion of bad loans in the mining state picked up to about 1.3 per cent, well above Queensland, the closest region in terms of arrears. "Loan impairment expense was $356 million, an increase of 1 per cent on the prior comparative period," CBA said. "The result was mainly driven by increased home loan and personal loan...
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Banking royal commission warns victims to not breach gag orders Sydney Morning Herald Feb 7 2018 - 5:48pm Sarah Danckert   The banking royal commission has confirmed it will offer no legal protections to  victims and whistleblowers if they breach gag orders when making submissions to the inquiry. The official advice, provided by the royal commission to Fairfax Media ahead of is first hearing in Melbourne on Monday, has raised concerns that the process will not detail scandals the banks have previously sought to cover up. On Wednesday, a spokesman for the royal commission confirmed it would not be overriding confidentiality agreements in settlements between individuals and the banks. “In relation to the issue of non-disclosure provisions in settlements... at this stage of the inquiry, we would not want individuals to provide information that may be in breach of legal obligations by voluntarily providing such information,” the spokesman said in response...
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Controversial China book may get parliamentary protection Sydney Morning Herald Feb 6 2018 - 1:21am Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker   EXCLUSIVE  Key members of Federal Parliament’s national security committee are backing a move to use the committee’s powers to publish an explosive book on Chinese Communist Party influence in Australia. Committee chair and Liberal MP Andrew Hastie and deputy chair Anthony Byrne, a Labor MP, are among those supporting the move despite the potential for diplomatic fall-out, according to multiple sources. Fairfax Media has also confirmed that the office of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been briefed on the deliberations of the committee and has no objection to it publishing  the manuscript. Two major publishers ditched the manuscript, by a professor of public ethics at Charles Sturt University, Professor Clive Hamilton, citing fears Beijing or its proxies would launch legal action. The publishing of the manuscript by the Joint Parliamentary Committee...
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