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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RBA’s Chris Kent explains how banks make money ... literally The Australian 12:00am September 20, 2018 Adam Creighton   Banking is a licence to create money out of thin air, the Reserve Bank says, exploding the myth that banks make loans by “lending out customer deposits”. In a landmark speech, assistant governor Chris Kent moved in Sydney yesterday to clear up the “degree of confusion” about how money is created, explaining that banks create deposits when they make loans — in contrast to what textbooks say and most people ­believe. “Concerned citizens might be worried about what they see as the ability of private banks to create money via the extension of credit, seemingly at will,” he said. Since June 2008, the volume of money in the economy has almost doubled from just over $1.1 trillion, or 100 per cent of GDP, to almost $2.1 trillion, or about 115 per cent...
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S&P upgrades outlook on Australia on surplus prospects Australian Financial Review Sep 21 2018 4:01 PM Patrick Commins, John Kehoe   Global ratings agency S&P has upgraded the outlook on Australia's AAA credit rating to "stable" and says it expects the combined federal and state budgets will return to surplus by the "early 2020s" thanks to a strong job market and high commodity prices. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has already signalled the federal budget may return to balance before the 2019-20 forecast. Final accounts for last financial year are due to be released as soon as next week, though a narrowing deficit is still expected for 2017-18. Separately, Mr Frydenberg said on Friday that S&P had provided a "strong endorsement" of the government's finances and that Australia was one of only 10 countries to have a AAA rating from all three agencies. However, the Treasurer declined to commit to offset with new...
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Banking royal commission: Insurers could face criminal charges Australian Financial Review Sep 21 2018 6:59 PM James Frost   The royal commission has heard a host of insurers have systematically broken laws, many of them carrying criminal penalties, in an explosive final day of hearings on the insurance industry. The open findings were delivered to the Hayne royal commission on Friday afternoon and were made even more embarrassing when Financial Services Council chief executive Sally Loane was unable to answer general questions about the industry and developments in relevant markets. In response to a question about the code of conduct Ms Loane said she didn't know. "As I said, I'm CEO. I have a lot of people on my staff." Counsel assisting the commission Rowena Orr, QC, presented the damaging findings, saying it was open to commissioner Kenneth Hayne to find evidence of insurance companies acting unconscionably, making false and misleading...
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'Stop being bastards': how the royal commission could reform banks Sydney Morning Herald 22 September 2018 12:00am Jessica Irvine   Graeme Samuel is in no mood for beating around the bush. Australia’s former competition tsar, now a professorial fellow at Monash Business School, recalls a meeting with bank executives, in which they quizzed him on how to stop the relentless public mantra of “banks are bastards”. “The first thing I said was: ‘stop being bastards’,” Samuel told Fairfax Media this week, reflecting on six sensational rounds of public hearings of the royal commission into misconduct in the financial services sector which, he says, revealed “horrific” case studies and examples of “crass stupidity” by executives. “Some of us who have been in public service and dealing with these companies look at it and say what is going on?” Earlier this year, Samuel was part of a high level trio – including the...
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Graeme Samuel ‘bewildered’ by finance companies’ poor behaviour The Australian 12:00am September 22, 2018 Michael Roddan   Former competition tsar Graeme Samuel has hit out at the “completely unacceptable” behaviour of some of Australia’s biggest ­financial institutions through the man­ipulation of supposedly independent reports concocted by major consulting firms and fed to financial regulators. While crimes and misdemeanours committed by the big four banks gave cause to establish the banking and financial services royal commission, the behaviour of the big four accounting firms — KPMG, Deloitte, Ernst & Young and PwC — and a host of second-tier auditing, contracting and consulting firms is squarely in the sights of financial watchdogs. Kenneth Hayne’s royal commission this week revealed further sorry examples of how companies pressure consultancies to fudge information in reports destined for regulators, this time with the revelation that EY buckled to the demands of insurance giant Allianz and reproduced a...
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ASIC under fire: Can a change of the guard fix regulator’s image? The Australian 12:00am September 22, 2018 Ben Butler   Hard and fast. That’s how one of the Australian Securities & Investments Commission’s new commissioners took on the spivs, crooks and scumbags infesting New Zealand’s corporate landscape when he became the head of the Kiwi regulator back in 2010. At the time, New Zealand was reeling from the collapse of a series of finance companies that erased about $NZ3 billion in savings from 200,000 depositors. “We wanted to create a deliberate image that we were going to be hard-nosed about regulation in terms of misconduct,” Sean Hughes told a parliamentary inquiry in 2014. “There had been some very vehement criticism of our predecessor bodies that they had been too soft on breaches of the law.” On his first day at the new Financial Markets Authority, Hughes inherited 55 investigations from...
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ASIC reviews penalties after Hayne shaming Australian Financial Review Sep 21 2018 11:00 PM John Kehoe   EXCLUSIVE  The corporate regulator has launched an internal review into how it negotiates settlements and the size of monetary penalties with offending companies, following revelations at the banking royal commission that it was sometimes too soft on banks and insurers. AFR Weekend has learnt that Daniel Crennan, the new deputy chairman of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, has been made responsible for ASIC's enforcement policies and tools, including its pursuit of criminal and civil penalties, as well as the use of administrative or court enforceable undertakings. The quantum of monetary penalties imposed on infringing firms is also being examined, said sources with direct knowledge of the ASIC review. It coincides with intense pressure on the regulator from Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who recently lashed ASIC for alleged past enforcement shortcomings committed before new chairman...
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Banking royal commission report will crimp mortgage credit: Citi and UBS Australian Financial ReviewSep 20 2018 11:00 PM James Eyers   Banking analysts are braced for the interim report of the financial services royal commission to prompt a further restriction in housing credit, which could apply further pressure to house prices, after various case studies presented by the inquiry found banks lent more than many borrowers could afford. Citi banking analyst Brendan Sproules said he's expecting a "blistering review" of lending standards by Commissioner Kenneth Hayne when he delivers his interim report next week, and suggested investors could be underestimating the impact of his recommendations on the sector. Systemic over-lending The hearings on consumer lending had exposed "systemic over-lending" and in a comprehensive report published on Thursday, he predicted the inquiry would prompt further tightening of lending and lead to a ramp up of enforcement of lending laws by regulators. Commissioner...
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How reef funds went from $5 million to nearly $500 million in five days Sydney Morning Herald 21 September 2018 12:00am Carrie Fellner & Peter Hannam   EXCLUSIVE  Just days before the Great Barrier Reef Foundation received a controversial $443.4 million funding package, the organisation was in talks with then environment minister Josh Frydenberg's office for a grant of just $5 million. Documents obtained by Fairfax Media under freedom of information also show in the weeks after Mr Frydenberg met the foundation chairman John Schubert with the then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull on April 9 to tell him the grant had leapt almost 100-fold, officials were still scrambling to learn what the non-profit group did. The internal emails and diary notes provide colourful details of the efforts to justify the funding, with an Environment department staffer asking the group on April 19 for "any summaries of projects that we are investing...
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Labor to target overseas tax haven loopholes and 'citizenship shopping' Australian Financial Review Sep 20 2018 11:00 PM Tom McIlroy  WE HOPE LABOR START WITH THE CAYMAN'S Labor will move to end travel allowances for known overseas tax havens and stop citizenship shopping by requiring Australians with foreign residency to report to the Tax Office. Shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh will announce plans to close a loophole that allows wealthy employees to receive allowances of up to $2000 tax-free for trips to nearly 30 countries including the Bahamas, Bermuda, Barbados, the Cayman Islands and Monaco. Currently some allowances paid to employees for overseas travel are tax deductible – up to $400 per day for five days. The plan would automatically deny deductions relating to all jurisdictions included on a European Union-style blacklist, including countries such as Nauru, the Maldives, Cook Islands, Niue and Vanuatu. Individuals could apply to the Commissioner of...
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Hayne shines a light on bargain basement penalties: Petty cash justice for Major Crimes Australian Financial Review Sep 20 2018 7:31 PM James Frost, Misa Han   The corporate regulator's failure to issue major companies with fines of any consequence was again highlighted at the Hayne royal commission on Thursdaywhen evidence showed Suncorp was fined just $43,200 when it was liable for a $7.2 million penalty. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission told Suncorp its promotion of insurance was false and misleading and issued the company four infringement notices with penalties of $10,800 per infringement. Breaching this section of the law is a criminal offence and carries a maximum penalty of $1.8 million per contravention. Emails between Suncorp employees show they knew promoting complete replacement cover was likely to infuriate both regulators and politicians but "the risk was accepted" after they considered the potential financial reward. Suncorp reported net profit of $1.1...
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Labor urges insurance crackdown ahead of Hayne report Australian Financial Review Sep 20 2018 10:27 PM John Kehoe   Labor is pressuring Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to explain why the government has failed to give the corporate regulator power to regulate insurance claims handling, as both sides of politics prepare for the interim royal commission report to be released next Friday. Shadow financial services spokeswoman Clare O'Neil will attend the commission's hearing in Melbourne on Friday and call on the government to explain why it has delayed giving the Australian Securities and Investments Commission the power to properly regulate claims handling in insurance. Kenneth Hayne's probe has uncovered allegations of wrongdoing by insurers in unfairly assessing and paying out claims, including Allianz, Suncorp and Youi. "I cannot begin to described how disgusted I was to hear that one insurance company left a pregnant woman without a roof for over 18 months. Insurers...
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One in five interest-only borrowers could run into mortgage repayment arrears: Most of whom were NOT TOLD their loans were Interest Only.  Australian Financial Review Sep 21 2018 12:16 AM Su-Lin Tan   One in five interest-only loan borrowers will struggle to make mortgage repayments when their interest-only loan expires, the latest UBS housing and banking survey reveals. The Reserve Bank previously indicated almost half a trillion dollars in interest-only mortgages - or about 30 per cent of all outstanding mortgages - will convert to principal and interest loans over the next four years, jacking up monthly repayments for almost 1.5 million borrowers and cooling housing markets further. "This last finding is quite concerning, in our view, as it implies that 18 per cent of interest-only customers will not be able to afford to pay their monthly mortgage repayment when their Interest-only period expires," the 2018 UBS Evidence Lab Mortgage Survey said....
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Ken Henry says he has no regrets for pushing for bank inquiry The Australian 2:25pm September 19, 2018 Richard Gluyas   There were eight signatures on the fateful letter to then-treasurer Scott Morrison that called for the establishment of a financial services royal commission. So persuasively did the chairs and chief executives of the four major banks argue for a royal commission in the November 30, 2017 letter that the Turnbull government immediately acquiesced. The rest is history, apart from one significant point. The word on the street is that, of the four bank chairs, it was National Australia Bank’s Ken Henry who was mostly responsible for developing the industry consensus that a royal commission was necessary to end the political uncertainty and erosion of confidence in the financial system. “We now ask you and your government to act to ensure a properly constituted inquiry into the financial services sector is...
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Experts respond to PM’s claims Labor policy could spark ‘housing market crash’ news.com.au September 20, 2018 Alexis Carey   PRIME Minister Scott Morrison has slammed Labor’s bold plan to fix the housing market, with the ominous warning it could “invite a housing market crash”. But while the Coalition has poured cold water over the Opposition’s promise to limit negative gearing and halve the 50 per cent capital gains tax discount, it has ignited fierce debate among leading property experts and everyday Aussies alike. News.com.au spoke to some of the country’s biggest names in real estate to get their take on what has become one of the hottest topics in the country. Here’s what they had to say. Not parody and not the Onion: the Real Estate Prime Minister says that cutting back the tax rorts that totally didn't cause house prices to rise will cause a housing crash. Also, how can...
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AMP still taking fees from the dead The Australian 12:00am September 18, 2018 Ben Butler, Michael Roddan   Scandal-ridden wealth giant AMP continues to charge dead people for life insurance, even after being told the customer has died, the banking royal commission has heard. The nation’s fifth-biggest ­financial services group discovered in April it was slugging the dead, after launching an investigation when CBA admitted similar sins to the commission. Yesterday’s admissions by AMP’s head of wealth management, Paul Sainsbury, made it the third financial services group after NAB and CBA whose graveyard sting has been exposed by the royal commission. AMP was also put through the wringer for charging superannuants higher life insurance premiums after wrongly assigning them status of “smoker”, and failing to give the customer enough opportunity to correct the record. Mr Sainsbury’s admissions join other shockwaves from the commission, with NAB’s head of wealth, Andrew Hagger, resigning...
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  Exit not so horrible for NAB’s $20m man Andrew Hagger The Australian 12:00am September 18, 2018 Michael Roddan, Ben Butler   NAB’s head of wealth Andrew Hagger will exit with redundancy payout of up to $796,000, as the highest-profile casualty so far of the banking royal commission. Mr Hagger, who has trousered more than $20 million over his decade at the bank, agreed to fall on his sword at the weekend after his evidence to the banking royal commission over his dealings with the corporate regulator during NAB’s fees-for-no-service scandal were lashed by counsel assisting, Michael Hodge QC. He is to be replaced as NAB’s most senior customer-facing executive by former NSW premier Mike Baird. Mr Baird will move from chief customer officer, corporate and institutional, to the same role at consumer banking. Mr Hagger’s is the first scalp from the big four claimed by royal commission hearings that have...
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Treasurer’s staff scrambles for aged-care fund details The Australian 12:00am September 18, 2018 Rick Morton   EXCLUSIVE  The Treasurer’s office has sought urgent advice from two government ministers about whether the Coalition cut $2 billion from direct aged-care funding and the dementia supplement, almost a week after cabinet signed off on a royal commission into aged care. On Sunday night, five hours after Scott Morrison was asked about cutting the Aged Care Funding Instrument, an email from Josh Frydenberg’s office was sent to Health Minister Greg Hunt and Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt’s advisers seeking more ­answers. The Australian can reveal the Coalition has been considering a review of the ACFI, which would save between $3.3bn and $5.4bn over four years on top of the $2bn shaved off in 2015 and 2016 when Mr Morrison was treasurer. However, new Treasurer Mr Frydenberg was not across the ­detail of that policy, even...
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ASIC launches civil action against ANZ over 2015 capital raising Australian Financial Review Sep 14 2018 5:26 PM Jonathan Shapiro   The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is taking court action against ANZ Banking Group in relation to the controversial $2.5 billion equity capital raising in August 2015 that is the subject of a criminal cartel case. ASIC is claiming ANZ breached its continuous disclosure obligation by failing to inform the market that $791 million of the total $2.5 billion placement had been taken up by underwriters Deutsche Bank, Citigroup and JPMorgan, according to documents filed in Victoria's Federal Court on Friday. The documents highlight three separate conference calls between ANZ's then treasurer Rick Moscati and head of capital John Needham with the bank's underwriters Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan. During the calls the executives and bankers agreed to dispose of shares in certain ways, as well as consult if they...
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Josh Frydenberg slams ASIC for enabling 'culture of appalling conduct' Australian Financial Review Sep 14 2018 11:00 PM Phillip Coorey   EXCLUSIVE  Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has slammed the past failures of the corporate regulator and promised new powers to speedily compensate victims of misconduct. Although awaiting the final recommendations of commissioner Kenneth Hayne's banking royal commission, Mr Frydenberg said he was likely to give ASIC new powers, including the power of remediation that was included in a capability review handed down in 2016. That means ASIC would be able to order companies who had wronged customers, such as AMP, to compensate them within a set timeframe, thus avoiding ASIC needing to take legal action. "Australians affected by financial misconduct deserve timely remediation," Mr Frydenberg told AFR Weekend. "A new ASIC remediation power as recommended by the ASIC Capability Review and accepted in principle by the government is one potential solution...
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