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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US regulators probe Macquarie The Australian 12:00am March 9, 2019 Ben Butler   EXCLUSIVE  The US Securities and Exchange Commission has been investigating a key American subsidiary of Macquarie Group over allegations it committed fraud by misleading investors in a $US12 billion ($17.1bn) fund. An internal SEC order opening a private investigation into the Macquarie subsidiary, Delaware Investment Advisers, reveals the regulator suspected that from “at least late 2014” the company and its officers may have been violating US law by “employing devices, schemes or artifices to defraud any client or potential client” looking to tip money into the successful Delaware Value Fund, which holds a clutch of large US-listed stocks. The January 31, 2017 SEC order, obtained by The Weekend Australian under US freedom-of-information laws, also says Delaware may have committed additional violations by “making untrue statements of material fact or omitting to state material facts concerning investment processes and...
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Mark Bouris-led Yellow Brick Road erases goodwill as it deliver late half-year loss The Australian 5:41pm March 7, 2019 Ben Butler   Mark Bouris-helmed mortgage broker Yellow Brick Road has taken a $34 million hit from the Hayne royal commission, slashing the value of its goodwill to nothing. The writedown, which Yellow Brick Road (YBR) today told the stock exchange was due to uncertainty, negative consumer sentiment and decreased home loan volumes, was the main factor behind a $34.2m loss for the six months to the end of December. However, half-year accounts released today — a week late because auditorsdid not sign off on the numbers in time — show Yellow Brick Road also made an operating loss of almost $4.3m amid what Mr Bouris said were the most difficult borrowing conditions he had ever seen. Yellow Brick Road erased all the goodwill of its two main business units, cutting $3.9m...
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The facts on boat arrivals that the media won’t face Pearls and Irritations 8 March 2019 John Menadue   From September 2015, almost four years ago, Peter Hughes and I have pointed out repeatedly that Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison triggered the surge in boat arrivals from September 2011 and did not stop the boats as they claim from December 2013 when Operation Sovereign Borders commenced. The facts that Peter Hughes and I have set out have not been challenged.  They have not been disputed in any way.  But the mainstream media continues to accept  Coalition spin on boats. Perhaps our mainstream media have trouble with tables.  So I decided to set out the facts in graph form, below. There are two graphs on boat arrivals 2011-2014. The first graph describes the ‘raw’ data, whereas the second graph omits the monsoon months.The monsoon varies from year to year but usually runs...
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'Clear duty to intervene': Government under pressure to save whistleblower Sydney Morning Herald March 8, 2019 12.00am Adele Ferguson   EXCLUSIVE  Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick has called on the federal government to step in and stop the prosecution of former public servant Richard Boyle who is facing 161 years in prison after blowing the whistle on poor culture at the Australian Taxation Office. Senator Patrick wrote to Attorney-General Christian Porter on Thursday saying if the case proceeded it would make a mockery of the government’s advances in whistleblower policy, discourage whistleblowers across the public sector and undermine public confidence. “It is your clear duty to intervene and bring this prosecution to an end,” Senator Patrick says in a two-page letter. Mr Boyle has been charged with 66 offences that could see him serve six life sentences if found guilty potentially topping the punishment handed out to serial killers such as...
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House-building contracts at fastest pace in over six years in February Australian Financial Review Mar 7, 201910.44am Michael Bleby   House building contracted at its fastest pace in over six years in February, as the pipeline of new orders and prices declined amid lending constraints and weaker confidence. The Performance of Construction Index, based on a survey of industry managers, dropped 0.6 of a point to 35.2 for house building activity last month. A reading above 50 indicates growth, while a reading below 50 shows contraction. The further the number from the 50-median level, the faster the pace of growth or contraction. New orders in detached house building - a leading indicator of activity - also declined for a seventh straight month and suggest further weakness to come in the sector. Official figures earlier this week showed building approvals of new standalone houses slipped to 119,053 over the 12 months to...
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Westpac scraps teller bonuses The Australian 12:00am March 8, 2019 AAP   Westpac has scrapped sales-related bonuses for its 2300 bank tellers as it aims to rebuild customer trust damaged during the banking royal commission. Westpac, which removed product-related incentives for branch personnel in 2016, will remove customer satisfaction-linked bonuses from April and replace them with a $500 fixed pay increase. “A simple fixed, pay-only model takes us a step further to reinforce the importance of putting the customer first, and providing our 2300 tellers with more clarity and fairness around how their work is remunerated,” Westpac retail chief executive George Frazis said yesterday. Westpac says the move will give customers the assurance they are being served on their banking needs, not sales outcomes. Previous incentives were influenced by factors including branch location and product features, while the new pay increase will ensure recognition is based on individual service. The change...
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CBA ‘blocked ethics scrutiny’ The Australian 12:00am March 7, 2019 Michael Roddan   Commonwealth Bank was the subject of a wide-ranging cultural review by the St James Ethics Centre in 2015, but then barred the organisation from overseeing the implementation of any response to its findings. Ethics Centre director Simon Longstaff yesterday said his organisation produced a “thick” report that had never been released publicly on the cultural failings at the nation’s largest bank, two years before the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority was forced to conduct a wholesale review of CBA’s culture and governance in the wake of the money laundering scandal. Speaking at an industry forum in Sydney, Mr Longstaff said the report was given to the APRA committee, led by former regulator John Laker, but the Ethics Centre was blocked from understanding whether the bank responded to the first report’s findings. “It didn’t look at the whole of the...
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RBA housing line wears thin The Australian 6:00pm March 6, 2019 James Kirby   A repeating message from the Reserve Bank of Australia that it is not concerned about the housing downturn is starting to wear thin. The latest GDP figures for the three months to December 30 last year show that falling house prices and declining dwelling investment are a drag on the entire economy. In fact, Governor Philip Lowe’s detailing of negative equity levels should be enough to tell anyone we should be concerned. Lowe says the nationwide negative equity level is less than 5 per cent or, in other words, nearly one in twenty households with mortgages are looking at their home loan being bigger than the value of their house. The RBA interprets this number as being modest but we might just as easily point out that it was effectively zero for the last decade or so....
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APRA and AUSTRAC encourage regtech solutions Australian Financial Review Mar 6, 2019 6.33pm James Eyers   Both the prudential regulator and financial crime intelligence agency will engage with regulatory technology start-ups and help them develop solutions to assist regulated entities comply with laws and report data. Highlighting a significant shift in the data strategy at the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, Katrina Ellis, who is managing its data transformation program, said it should be viewed as "an opportunity to change the conversation around regulatory reporting". "For the first time at APRA, we want to engage directly with tech solution providers — intermediaries — that help the regulated entities that report the data to us," she said at the AccelerateRegTech event in Sydney. "We will have a new [data reporting] system, but there will be an ecosystem of other technology systems to be a bridge between us and reporting entities ... We will...
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Australia retains silver medal in global household debt MacroBusiness 12:10 am on March 7, 2019 Leith van Onselen   Australia has again taken the silver medal for having the world’s second most indebted households according to the latest data from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). Ratios of household debt to GDP as at the September quarter of 2018. Switzerland (129%) has again taken gold with Australia (121%) taking silver and Denmark (117%) bronze. The Netherlands (103%) and Norway (101%) round out the top five. The below chart tracks these ratios across the Anglosphere, with Australia way out in front of the other English-speaking nations with a ratio that is also well above Ireland’s at its peak (117.2%). The BIS has also released data on household debt servicing ratios (DSR), which estimate aggregate principal and interest repayments to income. These are considered “a reliable early warning indicator for systemic banking crises”,...
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Labor strike on companies sending jobs offshore The Australian 12:00am March 5, 2019 Greg Brown   EXCLUSIVE  A newly elected Labor government would face immediate ­pressure from unions to support a crackdown on companies sending jobs offshore, prompting business figures to warn of a retreat to ­protectionism under a Shorten prime ministership. In what is shaping as the next industrial relations test for the Opposition Leader, several Labor MPs and unions have backed measures that would prevent Australian businesses using cheap labour in India, The Philippines and China, including in overseas call centres. The Labor MPs have called for a new regulatory response to offshoring that would prevent companies from outsourcing jobs overseas, unless they had first conducted labour-market testing aimed at filling positions with Australian workers. The proposed crackdown on offshoring — a move supported by the Australian Services Union and the communications union — threatens to open up a...
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ASIC interviewing CBA's Ian Narev, Catherine Livingstone Australian Financial Review Mar 4, 2019 11.45pm Patrick Durkin   Commonwealth Bank of Australia's top bankers and directors are being interviewed by the corporate regulator as it moves closer to launching a landmark case against the bank and its board alleging breaches of directors duties and continuous disclosure. Former CEO Ian Narev and chairman Catherine Livingstone are among the serving and former bank executives and directors the regulator has issued notices to interview, plans to interview or has recently questioned. "CBA continues to engage with ASIC regarding a number of matters and responds to requests made by the regulator. We won't be commenting on any individual matter," a CBA spokesperson said on Monday. The case relates to the board's response to AUSTRAC warnings in 2016 that the bank was being used for money laundering and knowingly failed to disclose the breaches or adequately respond....
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Alucobond cladding supplier pushed to keep selling on safety grounds Australian Financial Review Mar 4, 2019 6.15pm Michael Bleby   Australia's biggest suppliers of polyethylene-core cladding told politicians their products were safe while they pushed for regulation changes that would make it easier to keep selling them. In August 2010, after Australia's building regulators started discussing concerns raised by fire authorities in ACT and NSW that the aluminium composite panels already widely in use did not pass building code combustibility requirements, the country's two biggest suppliers wrote to then ACT chief minister John Stanhope, asking for "immediate" changes to the code. "We believe the best approach would be to specifically state in the Building Code of Australia that Aluminium Composite Materials are exempt from the non-combustible criteria under clause C1.12 of the BCA and state that they are permitted to be used as a facade cladding material," said Alucobond Architectural chief...
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NSW's property downturn is worse than it looks Australian Financial Review Mar 4, 2019 4.25pm Aaron Patrick   NSW's first non-partisan pre-budget update is expected to show that Sydney's property downturn has triggered a sharp drop in stamp duty that could cut into the state's hard-won budget surplus. Treasury secretary Michael Pratt notified the government and opposition that on Tuesday the department will publish the latest figures on the government's finances, a step designed to provide independent and accurate information to voters before the election on March 23. The budget has deteriorated since the last update in December, when the Coalition government predicted house and apartment sales would fall 15 per cent by volume this financial year. So far, sales have fallen about 26 per cent. In January, sales were 40 per cent lower than in the same month a year earlier, RBC Capital Markets said. A big drop in the...
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Property bubble bursts in outer ‘burbs The Australian 6:53pm March 4, 2019 James Kirby   Investors hoping to negatively gear new properties are facing a bleak reality, as the latest figures suggest the speculative bubble in outer suburbs housing has popped. Under controversial negative gearing plans announced by Labor, negative gearing will no longer be allowed on existing properties. The ALP, which looks likely to win the May election, aims to restrict negative gearing to new homes, which are predominantly in housing states at the fringes of the major cities. Traditionally, the nation’s residential property investors had not ventured into new housing estates but booming land prices in 2017 lured a range of investors and speculators. Now those investors are facing falling prices and plunging sales volumes in the major capitals. Melbourne, which has been by far the hottest new property market, is facing a dramatic downturn, with a spike in...
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  Macro Business 12:10 am on March 5, 2019 Leith van Onselen   Yesterday, the ABS released dwelling approvals data for January, which revealed that apartment approvals have crashed by 53% since their May 2016 peak: To add further colour, below are charts plotting the breakdown of approvals by type for each of the states and territories, which are presented below in rolling annual terms to smooth volatility.   First, here’s the national breakdown, which shows that detached housing remains the dominant form of approvals, although high-rise (4 or more storeys) had gained significant ground over the past 4-years, but are now collapsing: As you can see, high-rise approvals nationally have fallen 37% since their October 2015 peak, from 78,089 to 49,444, with a nasty downtrend evident.   Below are the charts at the state and territory level:   And finally, here’s the high-rise approvals across the four biggest markets, which shows...
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Suncorp mortgage bond failure ‘a canary’   ·         MICHAEL RODDAN REPORTER ·         12:00AM MARCH 5, 2019 ·         Suncorp has unexpectedly declared a residential mortgage bond worth $120 million may not repay all investors after the share of borrowers in arrears rose to a trigger point, putting the distributions in doubt. The surprise development may be a sign of further stress in the $1.7 trillion mortgage system. It is also believed to be the first local mortgage bond to encounter difficulty since the global financial crisis. CLSA banking analyst Brian Johnson pointed to a combination of borrowers carrying too much debt and rising arrears rates in states such as Western Australia, where unemployment has increased at the same time house prices have fallen, as a possible reason for the announcement. “To get to this point, for a securitisation this old to go bust — that is weird,” Mr Johnson...
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https://www.euromoney.com/article/b1dbg3gn7ppw3p/australia-royal-commission-all-talk-no-action#.XHmY5Ko60ho.twitter Australia Royal Commission: All talk, no action Friday, March 01, 2019 The final report of Australia’s Royal Commission into misbehaviour in financial services had plenty of blood and thunder, and has already brought down the top executives of National Australia Bank, but it doesn’t bring the promise of lasting reform. Early February in Australia had everything.  It had the most uncomfortable photo call in recent memory, as Kenneth Hayne, in handing over his Royal Commission report into banking, declined the requests of the press pack to shake the hand of Australian treasurer Josh Frydenberg.  It had a top banking executive who, at the precise moment of the report’s formal launch, was out selling The Big Issue. It had the ousting of both the chairman and chief executive of National Australia Bank simultaneously. It had everything, in fact, except the promise of genuine reform to the Australian banking system.  The...
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Australia banking: Comyn shafts Narev for the greater CBA good Wednesday, November 21, 2018   "Euromoney"   There's one way to get to the top – rubbish those who came before you.     “Temper your sense of justice.”   That phrase, you can already feel, is entering the Australian vernacular as a shorthand for the complacency of the big banks. It came to light in the latest hearings of the Royal Commission into Australian banking conduct, during the testimony of Matt Comyn, the new chief executive of Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Matt Comyn, CBA Comyn used his testimony to explain how he had, in his previous job as head of retail, lobbied then chief executive Ian Narev in 2015 and 2016 to stop selling some of the products that would later land the bank in enormous trouble with the regulators and the public. Comyn said he repeatedly asked Narev to stop...
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NAB provides mental health hotline for brokers stressed about Hayne review   AFR Duncan Hughes 18 feb 2019   It comes as mortgage brokers are signing on to a mental health counselling scheme that identifies stressed borrowers called "Accidental Counsellor", which is for employees who find themselves in a counselling role by accident. Mr Felton said an increasing number of borrowers are also stressed by falling property prices, rising costs, negative equity and difficulty renegotiating interest-only loans. For example, about 650,000 borrowers with loans totalling about $230 billion are "trapped" in their interest-only loans and could struggle to refinance, forcing many to sell into already deteriorating property markets, according to investment bank Morgan Stanley. The waiting game Mortgage brokers comprise more than 7000 businesses and have 17,720 employees, with revenue of about $2.2 billion and total wages of more about $1.5 billion, according to IBISWorld. Brokers account for about 59 per...
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