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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ANZ's turn to face the banking royal commission blow torch Australian Financial ReviewMar 18 2018 11:00 PM James Eyers   ANZ Banking Group executives will be in the firing line this week as the banking royal commission rolls on. As Commissioner Kenneth Hayne and counsel assisting Rowena Orr, QC, probe its credit card and overdraft lending practices, the inquiry will deliver some sharp blows to ANZ's reputation, if the pummelling of National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank last week is anything to go by. Reading the writing on the wall, ANZ said on Friday it would suspend retail asset financing from the end of next month and undertake a review of it. ANZ's car lending business will also be in the commission's spotlight this week; it was slugged with a $5 million fine last month over lending practices at Esanda, which ANZ has since sold. ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott has...
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CBA chief Comyn entangled in Aussie’s dramas The Australian 12:00am March 19, 2018 Richard Gluyas   Commonwealth Bank’s hopes for a smooth leadership transition to Matt Comyn could be disrupted by the revelation that its incoming chief executive is CBA’s shareholder representative on the Aussie Home Loans board. The news comes after a torrid week for Aussie in the financial services royal commission, which heard on Friday that the mortgage broker had failed an internal risk audit as recently as last December, and that a responsible lending policy had only been introduced two weeks ago. Aussie failed to report to police four brokers who were eventually convicted, did not inform customers that their broker had been sacked for misconduct, and still lacked a team dedicated to tracking down fraud. The internal risk assessment concluded: “Our findings stress the need for the group to strengthen its oversight of (Aussie) ... in short,...
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Financial services competition role for ASIC as agenda expands The Australian 12:00am March 19, 2018 Andrew White   Australia’s corporate regulator will have competition issues in financial services added to its mandate and an expanded board as part of an overhaul to coincide with the start of new chairman James Shipton. Revenue and Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer will today announce the expansion of the Australian Securities & Investments Commission’s mandate in a move she says will help ensure consumers get value for money from the industry. “It is my belief that ultimately it is competition — not regulation — that is the best means of ensuring consumers get value for money in financial services,” Ms O’Dwyer will say in a speech to the annual ASIC forum in Sydney today. “I think that everyone agrees that both consumers and financial services providers — particularly new entrants — benefit from a more...
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Home and Away: Where the Turnbulls invest their millions https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/home-and-away-where-the-turnbulls-invest-their-millions-20151016-gkamsd.html   By Anne Davies Updated17 October 2015 — 12:51amfirst  Share on Twitter Send via Email Normal text sizeLarger text sizeVery large text size Labor demands Turnbull dump his Caymans investments Peter Hartcher: Shorten's class act falls on deaf ears Turnbull slaps down Labor's tax focus Sketch: Turnbull dodges fearsome Cayman attack For the first time in history, Australia has a seriously rich Prime Minister. But with this first comes the dilemmas that have plagued wealthy US presidents for decades. How should he manage his investments while in office? Do they raise any ethical issues? Is there potential for conflict of interest? What about spousal and family interests? How does one deal with business leaders who were once business colleagues? Is there anything in one's business past that can be dredged up and exploited by political foes?  And then there is that more nuanced...
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The debate over bank profits gets serious Australian Financial Review Mar 15 2018 11:00 PM Aaron Patrick   Profits, profits, profits. When it comes to almost any industry other than banking, they're virtuous. Profitable companies generate high-paying jobs, innovative products and good service. That's why a debate that could have big consequences for millions of Australian investors and savers sounds like an existential question: do large bank profits underpin a healthy financial system, or are they a symptom of failed competition? Two of the powerhouses of commercial regulation are fighting this debate right now in front of the Productivity Commission, whose conclusions could influence the course of financial regulation for years. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which enforces competition policy, is convinced that the big four banks are oligopolists exploiting their power to make even bigger profits. The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, which is responsible for financial system stability, believes...
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Big bank home loans complicated, not competitive: ACCC ABC News15 March 2018 12:11pm Stephen Letts   The big banks' home loans are opaque, not competitive, and 'no frills' mortgages do not necessarily mean cheap, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. The ACCC's interim report from its Residential Mortgage Inquiry puts the banks under even more pressure as they struggle to defend questionable lending practices being uncovered at the banking royal commission. The interim report found opaque pricing of discounts offered on residential mortgage rates made it difficult for customers to make informed choices. The ACCC inquiry focuses on the big four banks, as well as Macquarie Bank, which together account for about $1.3 trillion, or 84 per cent, of outstanding residential mortgages in Australia. The ACCC said the big banks appeared more interested in maintaining the current positions than offering borrowers a real choice. "We do not often see...
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'Economical with the truth': CBA rapped over broker commissions Sydney Morning Herald March 2018 1:08pm Ruth Williams   CBA general manager of home buying Daniel Huggins says that under the CBA's commission structure, a mortgage broker could maximise their income by signing a customer up to the largest loan possible over the longest period. The head of the banking royal commission has questioned whether the Commonwealth Bank is being "economical with the truth" in failing to tell customers the value of commissions it pays to mortgage brokers in return for selling its products. At the commission's third day of public hearings, under way in Melbourne, CBA executive Daniel Huggins, in charge of the bank's home loan products, was repeatedly asked why the bank did not disclose more to customers about the commissions it paid - such as the value of upfront commissions, or the rate of the trail commissions. The bank...
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House price falls easing as banks rort APRA? Macro Business12:25 am March 16, 2018 ‘Houses and Holes’   The trend lower in house prices has softened in recent weeks. Leading indicators don’t suggest any kind of rebound in the offing but one wonders if the following is why we’ve seen a slowing melt, via the AFR: A record $5 billion worth of mortgages sold in the December quarter of 2017 fell outside APRA’s minimum loan serviceability buffers, as major lenders fight for market share and bigger profits in tougher real estate markets. That’s a more than a three-fold increase in the number of loans that are in breach of the standard since the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority wrote to them last March insisting on tighter standards, according to analysis of the regulator’s latest data. Concerned regulators are expected to ask lenders why they have failed to meet its minimum expectations for...
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The woman asking the hard questions at the banking royal commission Sydney Morning Herald 14 March 2018 7:30pm Michaela Whitbourn   Rowena Orr, QC, one of two silks assisting the landmark banking royal commission headed by former High Court judge Kenneth Hayne, offered a blunt assessment of the task confronting the inquiry on Monday. "The terms of reference ... are broad and the time to report is short," Orr told Hayne in Melbourne. "We embrace the challenge involved in assisting you." Orr and her fellow counsel assisting the commission - Brisbane-based silk Michael Hodge, QC, and junior barristers Albert Dinelli, Eloise Dias and Mark Costello - have just 12 months to help Hayne uncover and report on misconduct in the banking and financial services industries. Each has been hand-picked by Hayne for the task - and it is Orr who has taken the lead in the first round of public hearings,...
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Demand for residential mortgage-backed securities on the rise The Australian 10:43am March 14, 2018 Samantha Bailey   The issuing of residential mortgage-backed securities last year hit its highest level since 2007, before the GFC, says Reserve Bank assistant governor Christopher Kent. Mr Kent, who oversees financial markets, said in a speech in Sydney today that the demand for residential mortgage-backed securities rose while supply also increased, partly due to extra issuance by non-bank financial institutions. Non-bank financial institutions, which account for about 1 per cent of mortgage lending in Australia, issued $16 billion in mortgage-backed securities, a type of asset-backed security secured by a mortgage or a collection of mortgages. It came as non-bank lenders saw a pick-up in home lending in 2017, as the growth of lending by major banks eased. “That in turn reflected the decline in the growth of the major banks’ investor and interest-only loans as the...
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  Hayne commission must not try to remake banking Australian Financial Review Mar 12 2018 11:45 PM The AFR View   Australia has a well-managed, profitable, and well-supervised banking sector. In New York and London, casino banking was the source of contagion during the global financial crisis, while our conservative banks stood as a barrier against the spreading disaster. In Europe, weak and unprofitable banks have been a drag on the continent's recovery since the crisis. But not here. It is a record that should not be put at risk, even though opportunist politicians of all sides have threatened to do exactly that in recent years. Our banks are not perfect, and neither are all of the people working for them. That is why a royal commission opens in earnest today, with strict terms of reference to look at complaints over the misconduct by banks and bankers towards their customers. The...
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Banking royal commission: NAB to push back on FSU claims Australian Financial ReviewMar 12 2018 10:00 PM James Eyers   National Australia Bank is preparing to hit back at claims by the Finance Sector Union that it failed to discipline senior staff over a series of fraudulent mortgages, and has been tightening the eligibility criteria for its "introducer program", the first target of the financial services royal commission. Anthony Waldron, National Australia Bank's executive general manager of broker partnerships, will be the first banker to appear before commissioner Ken Hayne, probably on Tuesday afternoon. The morning session in Melbourne is expected to involve the commissioner's opening remarks on how he and the barristers will conduct the interrogation. As substantive hearings get underway, banks are braced for a period of intense scrutiny and unpredictable outcomes. Westpac Banking Corp CEO Brian Hartzer sent an email to staff on Monday afternoon describing the hearings,...
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Bank of International Settlements warns on Australian bank risk Australian Financial ReviewMar 12 2018 at 9:33 AM by Marc Jones (Reuters)   Risks are building in Australia's credit markets, says a key international finance group that is raising warning signs about the potential for stress in the banking system. Researchers at the Bank for International Settlements, which is owned by 60 central banks, looked at four measures that are designed to raise early alarms before financial vulnerabilities may emerge. In the latest review, three of those measures – Australia's debt-service ratio, household debt service ration and cross-border claims  – are coded amber, meaning they exceed a threshold that points to a high risk of a banking crisis in the coming years. Central bankers failed to spot the 2007-09 global meltdown in banking and have since looked at ways to spot future crises earlier and take preventive action. Combining indicators with movements in property prices improves the...
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Big four slash lending rates in 'war' to boost profits and grab market share Australian Financial Review Mar 11 2018 3:54 PM Duncan Hughes   Big four banks continue to slash mortgage rates in a bid to revive sluggish real estate markets, boost profits and squeeze out smaller lenders who have been grabbing market share because of lending caps on rivals. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and National Australia Bank have followed Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac Group by cutting key property rates by up to 50 basis points. Weekend property auctions, which are a widely accepted barometer for market conditions, were flat compared to recent months, partly due to today's public holiday in four states. Clearance rates were about 67 per cent, an increase from the previous week of about 3 percentage points, but well-down on last year's 75 per cent. Major lenders are aggressively reducing key fixed...
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ASIC prefers quicker, cheaper enforcement action: Ian Ramsay Australian Financial ReviewMar 11 2018 11:45 PM Joanna Mather   The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) rarely punishes financial services wrongdoing through the courts, raising questions about whether the regular sent strong enough deterrence messages in the years leading up to the royal commission, University of Melbourne economics professor Ian Ramsay says. Analysis by Professor Ramsay, who chaired a Turnbull-government initiated review of dispute resolution in the financial system, reveals just 11 per cent of ASIC enforcement action in the area of financial services between 2011 and 2016 was criminal in nature. That raised questions about whether ASIC had "fully utilised all of its enforcement powers in order to send the strongest deterrent message, firstly to the individuals concerned and secondly to the broadly regulated community," he said. In two new academic papers, Professor Ramsay and colleagues demonstrate a profound shift away...
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Nation’s big banks facing class actions over ‘worthless’ credit card insurance News Corp Australia Network March 11, 2018 10:00pm John Rolfe   EXCLUSIVE: Banks are set to face class actions from more than 100,000 customers duped into paying $40 million-plus for “worthless” credit-card insurance. Law firm Slater and Gordon is investigating the potential for filing proceedings against each of the Four Pillars over credit-card insurance, or CCI, which is meant to cover repayments if a borrower becomes sick, injured or involuntarily unemployed. However, the firm says often CCI has been sold to people who didn’t have a job, already had an income protection policy, were over a maximum age or ineligible because they worked for themselves. The shoddy sales practices have inflated already high profitability of CCI: for every $4 banks take in premiums only $1 is paid out in claims; for other types of insurance about $3 is returned to...
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NAB, ANZ cut interest rates as mortgage war heats up The Australian 12:00am March 10, 2018 Richard Gluyas   National Australia Bank and ANZ Bank have joined a home loan war for owner-occupiers and investors now that the major banks have complied with lending caps imposed by the prudential regulator. NAB announced yesterday a 50-basis-point cut to 4.09 per cent in its five-year fixed-rate product for owner-occupiers paying principal and interest. Two and three-year fixed rates for interest-only loans were sliced by 30 basis points to 4.49 per cent. ANZ followed suit, cutting three and five-year fixed rates by 40 basis points on its interest-only packages for investors. The rate for the three-year product is now 4.89 per cent, while the five-year loan is pegged at 5.39 per cent. Commonwealth Bank started the discount war last Friday, slashing its two-year, interest-only fixed-rate loan to investors by 50 basis points to 4.34...
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Fraud and identify theft 'growing threat' to $1.7 trillion real estate business Australian Financial Review Mar 9 2018 3:30 PM Duncan Hughes   Mis-selling, fraud, 'out of control' identity theft and hacking are a growing threat to the nation's $1.7 trillion real estate sector, according to analysis by banking and technology specialists. A mix of antiquated and inadequate digital processing, regulatory gaps, sophisticated hackers, fraud and absence of manual systems are creating unprecedented levels of risk to borrowers and lenders, they claim. "It is so easy to steal identity that it has got out of control," said Geoff Stockton, managing director of The PRM Group, which provides systems and support for verifying ID. Alex Tilley, a senior security researcher at SecureWorks, a listed digital security specialist, said email hacking between home buyers and estate agents, which is a big problem in the US, is taking grip in Australia. Mr Tilley said...
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Royal commission protects NAB whistleblowers ahead of home loan probe Sydney Morning Herald9 March 2018 — 5:22pm Clancy Yeates   The royal commission into financial misconduct has decided to protect the identity of one or more National Australia Bank whistleblowers ahead of its first round of public hearings into home loans. The first topic listed for Tuesday's hearing is NAB's problems with fraudulent home loan applications submitted via its "introducer" scheme - where people outside the bank collected a commission for referring a customer. NAB last year revealed 20 bankers had been sacked or had left over the issue, and another 32 were disciplined for failing to follow its rules when writing home loans. It is expected that more details about the misconduct, and how the bank responded, will be revealed next week. On Friday, a ruling by commissioner Kenneth Hayne added a snippet of new information, referring to "one or...
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Banking royal commission: Hayne focuses on reform, transparency The Australian 12:00am March 10, 2018 Richard Gluyas   On Tuesday morning, the public gallery in the commonwealth law courts in Melbourne will rise as Kenneth Hayne eases himself into a well-padded seat, signalling the start of the financial services royal commission’s first round of public hearings on consumer lending. The truth is, however, that the commission began reversing the natural order of things weeks ago, if not months. Agencies like ASIC, which are used to showering miscreants with notices to produce sensitive documents, have instead been on the receiving end of their own deluge, while Commonwealth Bank chief-executive-in-waiting Matt Comyn chose Wednesday to dump a couple of troublesome products. Comyn might have been putting his own mark on the bank, but there’s no better place to start clearing out the CBA trash than two add-on insurance products in a segment already targeted...
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