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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APRA must immediately ban ANZ’s new Ponzi-mortgages MacroBusiness 12:10 am March 15, 2019 David Llewllyn-Smith   Today I am in shock, which isn’t easy these days. Via the AFR comes the ASIC chief referencing post Hayne Royal Commission bank reform efforts: “I am still not convinced that there’s enough wherewithal and ownership by leaders of these financial institutions to actually finish the job,” Mr Shipton told the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s national consumer congress in Melbourne on Thursday. You don’t say. Because at the AFR comes an ANZ gone absolutely mad: ANZ is set to overhaul lending to property investors by doubling the maximum interest-only period from five years to 10. It will also increase the maximum loan-to-value ratio from 80 per cent to 90 per cent. If these mortgage are even within APRA requirements then it’s time that they are not. Didn’t we just learn our lesson on interest...
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Housing market may never recover from downturn, expert warns news.com.au March 14, 2019 6:49pm Alexis Carey   Australia’s property market enjoyed a golden run for years on end — but according to one Aussie CEO, those days are now gone for good. That’s according to tech entrepreneur Matt Barrie, from freelancing marketplace Freelancer, who told news.com.au the country’s economy had now reached “crisis mode”. He said the combination of our weakened housing market coupled with global market trends meant we were entering a “new realm” of economic misery. And he believes the impact could be even worse than the effect of the global financial crisis, which brought certain countries such as Spain and Ireland to their knees. “The banking royal commission has been the catalyst that pulled the rug out of residential mortgages,” Mr Barrie said. “Now applications are being knocked back tenfold, banks are becoming withdrawn and the easy credit...
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Labor commits fully to Hayne,   flags special prosecutions unit.   "I'm not foreshadowing major law reform without further consultation. Commissioner Hayne has asked us to have a conversation about complexity, about carve outs, about whether the law clearly reflects community intent, about whether our regulators are capable of doing what we are asking of them. "That is a conversation we are up for." Until now, Labor has pledged full support for a handful of recommendations and declared only "in-principle" support for the rest. Ms O'Neil will today promise that Labor, if elected, will implement 75 in full as recommended by Commissioner Hayne. Like the government, Labor has baulked at the recommendation to make the borrower, not the lender, pay upfront fees to mortgage brokers. Instead, Labor will limit the upfront fees to 1.1 per cent of the draw down component of the loan. "But for the rest of the recommendations,...
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Aussie banks can afford $12 billion Kiwi safety net, says RBNZ Sydney Morning Herald March 14, 2019 12.00am Clancy Yeates   EXCLUSIVE  The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has mounted a firm defence of its plan to force Australia's major banks to hold $NZ12.5 billion ($A12.12 billion) more in capital in their banking operations across the Tasman, saying the "highly profitable" businesses would have to accept lower returns. In an interview on Wednesday, RBNZ deputy governor Geoff Bascand also justified the plan to bolster bank balance sheets by emphasising the social costs of banking crises and arguing New Zealand could not rely on Australian parent companies for a bail-out in severe shock. The RBNZ's surprise proposal to make the big four's Kiwi businesses build larger capital buffers, announced in December, has been a key drag on the share prices of the big four banks in recent months. The change, which is...
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$20 million missing: Broker's client money used to cover losses Sydney Morning Herald March 13, 2019 7.40pm Sarah Danckert   One of Australia's largest brokers, Halifax Investment Management, is set to head into liquidation after administrators discovered that some of the $210 million of client money was used to cover off losses on bad bets on investment products by other clients. Investigations by administrators from Ferrier Hodgson have found that just under $20 million of customers' money is missing. Ferrier Hodgson has likened the collapse of Halifax, which had 12,000 clients in Australia and New Zealand, to other high-profile stockbroker collapses in recent years including BBY, Sonray and Opes Prime. Action against the company by the corporate regulator is a distinct possibility, with sources saying the Australian Securities and Investments Commission was taking a close interest in the outcome of the administration. More than $190 million of client money remains frozen...
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Building approvals continue to plummet The Australian 12:00am March 14, 2019 Michael Owen   Construction trends across the country appear bleak as the number of building approvals continue to steadily fall, driven in part by ­reluctant bank lending. An analysis of the amount of approvals for new buildings in 2019 compared to the same period last year shows values across the country are plummeting in all states and territories except ­Tasmania and the ACT. The significant falls in NSW are creating growing concern about a big slowdown in the ­supply of new homes in the state. In South Australia, the construction industry warned it was heading for a crisis with a 33 per cent fall in building approvals ­during the past 12 months from $546 million in January last year to $362m in January of this year. South Australian opposition leader Peter Malinauskas said yesterday two more building companies — Cubic...
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Australia will need 1 million more social, affordable homes by 2036 Australian Financial Review Mar 13, 2019 11.45pm Michael Bleby   Australia needs to build more than 1 million social and affordable homes by 2036 to arrest the shortfall caused by a lack of investment across decades and anaemic wage growth. The existing deficit of 651,300 social and affordable homes will blow out to nearly 1,024,000 by 2036, with nearly one-third of the shortfall occurring in NSW, a report to be published on Thursday by the UNSW City Futures Research Centre and Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) NSW shows. The figures, based on rental stress numbers revealed in the 2016 census, envisage a boost in the total proportion of social homes - rented to people on social security - and affordable homes - those rented out to designated lower-income earners at about 80 per cent of market rates - from the...
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How Mark Bouris and mortgage brokers defeated Hayne Australian Financial Review Mar 13, 2019 11.00pm John Kehoe   The Morrison government's stunning backflip on mortgage broker pay was engineered by the prime minister's celebrity friend Mark Bouris, aided by his former flatmate, Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert, and clinched via a textbook case of effective grassroots lobbying. Just weeks after the government agreed to the banking royal commission's call to ban brokers' trailing commissions to protect consumers, an ashen-faced Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced the backdown on Tuesday. Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen accused Frydenberg of a "humiliating change of position" and said the government couldn't be trusted to implement the royal commission's recommendations. Yet facing a May election and dwindling voter support, senior Liberals knew they could ill afford to hurt a traditional small business constituency and were desperate for an issue to wedge Labor. Mortgage brokers have been core backers of the...
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'Expect to see a more assertive APRA': Banking regulator puts super industry on notice The Age March 13, 2019 6.02pm Sumeyya Ilanbey   Superannuation trustees caught acting against their members interests will be named and shamed as the prudential regulator seeks to make a public example of wrongdoers. Australian Prudential Regulation Authority deputy chair Helen Rowell pledged a tougher line from the regulator after its "wake up call" at the hands of the royal commission. "You can expect to see a more assertive APRA that pushes harder for trustees to fix problems more quickly, is less patient with inadequate responses or inaction, and more willing to make an example of uncooperative trustees and directors," Ms Rowell told the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees conference on Wednesday. "APRA will maintain its focus on cleaning up the unsustainable and underperforming tail of the industry, as well as continuing to lift standards of practice...
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NAB customers get $110m compo The Australian 12:00am March 13, 2019 Richard Gluyas   National Australia Bank has repaid a further $110 million to aggrieved wealth customers since June, as interim chief executive Phil Chronican amps up internal pressure to pay customers who are owed compensation “as soon as possible”. In a letter to shareholders that coincided with the resignation of chief people officer Lorraine Murphy, Mr Chronican said he was aware of the “enormity” of the task confronting NAB. [Otherwise known to people with an adult vocabulary as ‘head of human resources’.] “The royal commission is right,” he said. “There is a big gap between where we are and where we need to be.” NAB, according to Mr Chronican, was stepping up the pace of remediation. The $110m paid to 310,000 customers since June is part of the $314m in remediation provisions announced last ­October. The bank’s disclosure follows a...
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New tax powers make employing staff riskier for small businesses The Australian 8:44am March 13, 2019 Robert Gottliebsen   Americans understand better than anyone else in the world that the employment growth in the years ahead will be in small business. Accordingly, although there was sluggishness in the US overall February labour statistics, the National Federation of Independent Business announced that job creation among small US businesses broke a 45-year record in February, with a net addition of 0.52 workers per firm. The previous record was set in May 1998. Here in Australia, what do we do? Our Coalition government has many pro small business policies, but in a mad aberration, it has passed legislation that makes in more dangerous and complex for small businesses to increase employment. All small businesses need to be aware that as a result of government action, their solvency faces a new hazard. From 1 July,...
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Two building companies collapse, another facing court action amid housing downturn ABC News13 March 2019 Ben Nielsen   Two South Australian building companies are facing collapse, and another is facing court action, amid ongoing pressure from the national housing downturn. Adelaide construction company Tudor Homes has gone into liquidationand JML Home Constructions, which operates the Onkaparinga GJ Gardner franchise, has closed its doors. An application to wind up Cubic Homes, based in Kilburn, will be heard later this month. It follows the recent demise of a string of local companies, including ODM Group, OAS Group and Platinum Fine Homes. Liquidators were appointed by Tudor Homes' shareholders late yesterday. The company's liquidator, Heard Phillips Chartered Accountants, told the ABC the firm was insolvent with outstanding creditors. It said the majority of homes under construction had been sold to another company, but a number of customers were impacted by the collapse. The liquidator...
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The chart that helps explain Sydney, Melbourne property price slump Sydney Morning Herald March 13, 2019 11.07am David Scutt   If you want to know why home prices in Sydney and Melbourne fell the fastest of any Australian capital city last year, this chart goes some way to answering that question. From the National Australia Bank, it shows the value of new investor home loans issued across the country. In New South Wales and Victoria, the value of investor lending has basically collapsed, helping to explain why total lending to investors nationwide has fallen by nearly 50 per cent in less than three years. While there are many factors behind the steep decline, the impact of macro-prudential restrictions on investor and interest-only home loans is clearly evident in the chart. In late 2014, APRA, Australia’s banking regulator, introduced a 10 per cent annual cap on housing credit growth to investors. That...
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How and why did the Northern Territory lease the Darwin Port to China, and at what risk? ABC News13 March 2019 Christopher Walsh   Southern contestants on Millionaire Hot Seat don't typically get questions about Darwin correct. Their knowledge of the Northern Territory is limited to crocs, fishing and oppressive heat. And so it was in June 2017, when then-federal treasurer Scott Morrison stumbled late into the office of the NT News, the Territory's paper of record, while a Millionaire Hot Seat question flashed on the screen in the biggest television in the office. It was far too difficult for $500, but Mr Morrison knew the answer all too well. "They didn't tell us about it!" Mr Morrison shouted, throwing his arms up in frustration, as the question hung on the screen: "Which Australian city controversially leased their port to a Chinese company in 2015?" The answer was Darwin. But the...
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APRA unconcerned about Labor franking credit cuts The Australian 12:00am March 11, 2019 Michael Roddan   EXCLUSIVE  The prudential regulator has not conducted any modelling of the likely impact on the financial system of Labor’s proposed cuts to franking credits, leaving open the question of any impact on bank shares. A freedom of information request by The Australian shows the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, the body responsible for ensuring the stability of the financial system and the resilience of the banking sector, has no documents, impact statements, economic modelling or contingency plans relating to the implications of removing refundable franking credits for individual companies or the financial system as a whole. APRA said the “documents cannot be found or do not exist”. Labor’s proposal, which would end the process introduced by the Howard government under which shareholders without a tax liability can receive a cash refund for excess franking credits, has...
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LandmarkWhite knew of IT weakness in 2017, a year before data breach Australian Financial Review Mar 10, 2019 11.30pm Michael Bleby   EXCLUSIVE  LandmarkWhite knew of a security weakness in its valuation platform in 2017, more than a year before it said it was first alerted to the vulnerability that led to the theft of records that were posted on the dark web, according to sources. At least 15 people across LandmarkWhite's pool of IT staff, contractors and senior management knew of the weakness in its valuation platform in mid-2017 after contractors alerted them to the vulnerability in its API, a piece of software allowing two different systems to communicate, sources told The Australian Financial Review. This was about 18 months before January 2019, when the company said it upgraded the valuation system that was the subject of the attack. Far from being a sophisticated data hack, the breach that left...
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Money for nothing: government paid $9m after scrapping Manus project Australian Financial Review Mar 10, 2019 11.45pm Lisa Murray, Angus Grigg, Jonathan Shapiro   The federal government abruptly cancelled a building project on Manus Island costing taxpayers almost $9 million just three weeks before the Home Affairs Department awarded the little-known Paladin group a controversial security contract now worth $423 million. In a decision described as "bizarre" by one person involved, Toll Group was contracted to build extra accommodation at the East Lorengau Refugee Transit centre on Manus but the project was suddenly abandoned on September 4, 2017, just as staff were preparing to fly to the island. The decision came around the same time as Home Affairs was conducting a closed tender for the garrison services contract at the refugee centre, which was awarded to Paladin. The department said the commercial arrangement with Toll was not linked to Paladin, but...
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Westpac, CBA flooded with new customer complaints Australian Financial Review Mar 8, 2019 9.50pm James Eyers, James Frost   Commonwealth Bank and Westpac are being flooded with new complaints as the Hayne inquiry roused angry customers out of the woodwork, forcing them and the new Australian Financial Complaints Authority to ramp up legal resources even before Labor's proposed changes that would allow even more claims. New complaints against banks have been flying in to AFCA since completion of royal commission hearings: there are almost 1000 outstanding complaints against CBA, and a further 1800 involving Westpac, the banks revealed during parliamentary hearings in Canberra on Friday. Since November 1, CBA has been hit with 830 new complaints – which the bank's deputy chief executive David Cohen described as "a very big number" – while at Westpac, the number is more than twice as large. "I believe the number is 1800," Mr Hartzer...
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House price fall a 'cyclical adjustment': Westpac boss Sydney Morning Herald March 8, 2019 2.51pm Clancy Yeates   Westpac chief executive Brian Hartzer has played down concerns over the fall in house prices, describing the slump as a "cyclical adjustment" that is being managed well, but warned that policy uncertainty is harming the confidence of consumers and business. Appearing before the government's banking inquiry on Friday, Mr Hartzer also said the Hayne royal commission was a "sad indictment" on the entire financial sector, saying the report would be be a "profound" turning point for the lender, as it implements the recommendations. Amid a debate about how house prices may affect the economy, Mr Hartzer argued the decline in prices was a "natural response" to the increase in housing supply, rather than any clampdown on credit availability by banks. "What we’re seeing is a cyclical adjustment after six strong years of growth,...
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Industry super funds rule the roost The Australian 12:00am March 9, 2019 Alan Kohler   We can now safely consign the Productivity Commission’s idea for a “10 best of the best” list of default superannuation funds to the bulging too hard basket. It won’t happen. Neither party wants to do it, the super funds definitely don’t and the banks even less so, not that they matter for a while. It was one of those dishes that looked great in the PC kitchen, but quite unappetising when the cloche was lifted. Not that superannuation policy is bipartisan: the Labor Party will re-engage the Fair Work Commission to take a tougher line and choose fewer default funds, and only good ones, not necessarily the correct fund for the award. The Coalition is lost, wandering a post-Hayne wilderness. The government only knows for sure that they would very much prefer that industry funds weren’t...
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