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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Millions of Australians missing out on superannuation, amid rise of gig economy ABC News (Four Corners) 26 March 2018 Stephen Long, Janine Cohen   Millions of workers are missing out on superannuation or failing to gain enough superannuation to secure a decent retirement, sparking calls for the entire system to be overhauled. The coverage of the superannuation system is being undermined by: ·         The rise of the gig economy, with a growing number of workers not classed as employees and ineligible for compulsory employer-funded superannuation; ·         Billions of dollars of retirement savings lost to employees each year through unpaid superannuation; ·         A significant share of the workforce in low-paid or insecure work who do not accumulate sufficient retirement savings. By law, employers in Australia must pay superannuation to any employee who earns more than $450 a month. But 1 million workers in Australia are classed not as employees, but as independent...
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More banks will be compelled to sign up to new ABA code of conduct Sydney Morning Herald 25 March 2018 4:49pm Fergus Hunter   EXCLUSIVE  More Australian banks will be required for the first time to sign up to a new code of practice as part of their membership of the Australian Banking Association, marking a strengthening of the scandal-plagued sector's approach to self-regulation. The ABA's move to compel all banks with retail operations to adopt the rewritten code is likely to oblige members such as Macquarie, industry super fund-backed ME Bank and local offshoots of international institutions like the Bank of China – who are not signatories – to adopt the tougher and legally-enforceable set of rules. The new code will force banks with retail operations to adopt plain English contracts, stop unsolicited offers of credit card limit increases, give customers the ability to cancel credit cards online, and provide more transparency...
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Backbenchers accused of helping payday lenders evade scrutiny The Australian 12:00am March 26, 2018 Michael Roddan   The federal opposition is accusing the so-called “parliamentary friends of payday lenders” group of government backbenchers of working to undermine the financial services royal commission by pushing to exempt the scandal-plagued payday lending sector from the year-long inquiry. The Australian can reveal the country’s largest payday lender, Cash Converters, has not been included in the royal commission. A spokesman for Cash Converters, which was recently forced to refund $10.8 million to customers and paid a $1.35m fine after an ASIC action, said the company had not been invited to make a submission to Kenneth Hayne’s royal commission and was not expected to give evidence. However, the first two weeks of royal commission hearings have revealed widespread rorts in the consumer credit sector, including consumers getting bad deals from car dealers, hairdressers and gym managers...
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Banking Royal Commission could spark a credit crunch that drags down wider economy, UBS analysts say ABC News24 March 2018 Stephen Letts   It has just been going just two weeks but the royal commission into the banks has had a vastly more material impact than most observers expected. Banks have been absolutely crunched as evidence of all manner of dodginess and outright fraud mounted up. The Big Four have lost around 4 per cent of their value since Commissioner Ken Hayne and his redoubtable counsel assisting, Rowena Orr, started turning the screws earlier this month. But ruthless efficacy of the inquisition could trigger a far bigger and systematic crunch — one that hits not only bank profitability, but potentially the entire economy. The big investment bank UBS has marshalled its banking and economic analysts to look at the impact on future credit conditions that will inevitably tighten as banks are...
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Financial royal commission flags some big changes The Australian 12:00am March 24, 2018 Ben Butler   After just two weeks of hearings, the royal commission into financial services has flagged fundamental changes to the way the industry operates, including a ban on paying commissions to brokers and other third parties and an overhaul of a culture that puts making sales before looking after customers. Delivering an address closing a first round of public hearings yesterday in Melbourne, counsel assisting the commission, Rowena Orr QC, made dozens of allegations of misconduct, including misleading, deceptive and unconscionable conduct, against the big banks. She and commissioner Kenneth Hayne QC found it was open to the commission to make findings of misleading, deceptive or unconscionable conduct against National Australia Bank, the Commonwealth Bank and its subsidiary Aussie Home Loans. Ms Orr said that based on evidence before the commission over the past two weeks it...
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The banking royal commission may delay banking's artificial intelligence nirvana Australian Financial Review Mar 23 2018 11:00 PM James Frost   It is the banking industry's favourite narrative: advances in technology and automated processes will help solve everything from back office inefficiencies to sub-par customer experiences. But after just two weeks of public hearings observers would be within their rights to ask if the dream of an AI-powered bank is just a fantasy. At the same time as ANZ's Guy Mendelson was explaining to the royal commission on Thursday that the platform supporting the bank's asset finance business built in 1982 was being decommissioned, ANZ's online banking services were crashing around Australia. For about five hours customers were unable to use ANZ's internet banking, mobile apps or complete transactions with a value of more than $200. Queues at supermarket check-outs began backing up as transaction after transaction was declined. There is...
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Who is to blame for NAB's Introducer Program? Australian Financial ReviewMar 23 2018 11:00 PM Patrick Durkin   The National Australia Bank has denied that its chief operating officer and potential next chief executive Antony Cahill had accountability for the bank's "Introducer Program". Questions are expected to arise at the banking royal commission over blame for the flawed program. The royal commission has examined how the program – designed to reward businesses for referring home loan customers to NAB – led to staff being paid "cash bribes" in "white envelopes" to write loans based on fake documents to hit targets and collect bonuses and on Friday, the commission heard the program led to multiple possible breaches of the law. Further revelations emerged this week after Nicola D'Agostino pleaded not guilty to 49 charges of obtaining property by deception and other charges relating to allegations he conspired with former banker Andrew Matthews...
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Banking royal commission: ASIC set to tell its side of story The Australian 12:00am March 21, 2018 Ben Butler   The corporate regulator is set to give the royal commission into the financial services industry its side of the story in response to a series of bank scandals examined during public hearings over the past week and a half, The Australian has learned. Australian Securities & ­Investments Commission lawyers, whom royal commissioner Kenneth Hayne has given permission to appear, plan to make a submission after the first round of public hearings ends. Reinforcing Mr Hayne’s ­interest, expressed during hearings last week, in the question of whether banks are willing to obey the law, the commission last night published a paper it ­requested from Treasury on the history of consumer credit law in Australia. The paper traces an evolution of the law over the past decade that has included “a shift away...
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Home loans in arrears rise as mortgage stress kicks in The Australian 12:00am March 23, 2018 Michael Roddan   An unusually high number of borrowers fell behind on their home loan repayments after the latest Christmas period as interest rate increases start to push more families into mortgage stress, according to global ratings agency Standard & Poor’s. Reports of a spike in home loan arrears in January comes hot on the heels of a warning from Peter Costello that homeowners should brace for “painful” consequences as global interest rates rise from historically low levels. This week Suncorp launched what could be the first sector-wide interest rate rise on owner-occupiers since 2015, after blaming rising US interest rates for increased funding costs for its own business. The US Federal Reserve yesterday lifted its official funds rate 25 basis points to 1.75 per cent as it tries to ward off rising inflation in...
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CBL collapse could leave builders and property owners exposed Australian Financial Review Mar 22 2018 12:30 PM Duncan Hughes   Builders and apartment owners could face massive bills to replace dangerous external cladding following the collapse of giant New Zealand-based insurer CBL, according to lawyers and insurers. Aggrieved property buyers wanting compensation for poor workmanship, substandard materials, or non-completion because of the financial collapse of a builder could also be left without insurance cover, they warn. The extent of CBL's exposure in the Australian market is unknown. In Victoria, where it was most active, it is thought to be the smaller player in a market dominated by the government's Victorian Risk Management and Insurance Authority (VMIA) scheme. The prospect of its building warranty insurance - taken out by builders and developers - lapsing, however, will send shock waves through  a building industry that has strong memories of the $5 billion collapse...
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ANZ Bank sued over loan standards in Guam Australian Financial Review Mar 22 2018 5:22 PM Emily Cadman (Bloomberg)   For Australian banks the jabs just keep coming - and not always from the most expected sources. ANZ Bank is facing a civil suit in Guam over lending standards at its American Samoa offshoot. Two retired US military veterans claim the Melbourne-based bank is liable for "systematic violations of the Truth in Lending Act," according to documents filed in the Guam district court March 21. They claim the bank breached mortgage contracts in charging excessive late fees, didn't provide adequate notice of changes in interest rates and didn't provide adequate bank statements. Ironically for the bank, a trigger for the lawsuit was a letter it sent to one of the plaintiffs in 2015 acknowledging it had overcharged $6,375.18 in interest. After resolving to monitor their balance more closely, the plaintiffs say...
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CBA AUSTRAC money laundering debacle one step closer to resolution Australian Financial Review Mar 22 2018 7:30 PM James Frost   The money laundering debacle that saw Commonwealth Bank slapped with 53,000 breaches of the anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing act is a step closer to a resolution after orders for mediation were made public. Late Thursday evening an announcement published on the ASX stated orders for mediation had been made by the Federal Court. The statement said mediation was to take place by May 25. It also required AUSTRAC to file and serve a reply to CBA's amended defence by April 6 and set out a timetable for proceedings in the event mediation was not successful. Commonwealth Bank revealed at its half-year result in February that it had set aside $375 million in provisions to bring the matter to a conclusion. Commonwealth Bank does not believe the 53,000 breaches...
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'I had never seen anything like this': Inside ANZ's car loan business Sydney Morning Herald 22 March 2018 1:37pm Sarah Danckert   ANZ’s former car loan business Esanda was riddled with misconduct, the royal commission has heard, including dealers pumping up interest rates to get commissions and brokers swapping customer’s financial information with that of their guarantor to get loan approvals. ANZ’s breaches of responsible lending requirements in its car finance business also ran to an alleged fraud involving a group of three dealers who supplied Esanda with fake payslips and bank statements to secure customer loans, the commission was told on Thursday. ANZ's Guy Mendelson said the bank had discovered during an internal investigation that one of its brokers had swapped the financial details of more than 90 customers with the financial details of the customers' guarantors of the loan. The bank this year admitted to 24 breaches of responsible...
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Banking royal commission has an impact in Hong Kong Australian Financial ReviewMar 22 2018 11:00 PM Chanticleer   The Hayne royal commission muscled its way into Asia's biggest investment conference in Hong Kong this week as global equity investors questioned the big four bank chief executives about the impact the inquiry will have on compliance and regulatory costs. During an intense few days of meetings on the 47th floor of the Conrad Hotel in Hong Kong, ANZ's Shayne Elliott, CBA's Ian Narev and Matt Comyn, NAB's Andrew Thorburn and Westpac's Brian Hartzer were reminded of Kenneth Hayne's inquiry 7000 kilometres away in Melbourne. Thorburn said the banking inquiry was one of a number of topics raised by investors during his meetings on Wednesday. "They do ask about the royal commission and they ask about regulation and compliance and how is it going to play out and how demanding has it been...
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Banking royal commission hears of cash bribes, conflicts of interest and hidden fees By The Business reporter Daniel Ziffer Sat 17 Mar 2018, 8:32am http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-17/banking-royal-commission-hears-mortgage-brokers-bribed/9557558?pfmredir=sm RELATED STORY: Alleged cash for loans bribery ring detailed at banking royal commission RELATED STORY: As it happened: Banking inquiry hears credit cards 'number one' cause of financial stress A tailor pushing $122 million in home loans, gym owners assessing peoples' finances, paper envelopes filled with cash bribes, and a bank chief executive revealing his own customers are getting a raw deal. And that was just four days. It was an astonishing first week of public hearings at the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, better known as #BankingRC. Things started badly for NAB. Then they got worse. The commission heard NAB's Introducer Program rewarded people such as solicitors and accountants for pushing customers towards its home loans. It was a program that...
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Banks say Productivity Commission wrong on competition Australian Financial Review Mar 21 2018 6:00 PM James Eyers   Commonwealth Bank of Australia says the Productivity Commission's attempt to lift competition in the banking sector may expose Australia to the risk of a deeper recession come the next economic downturn because it could dilute the strength and stability of the financial system. The PC published submissions from the big banks on Wednesday afternoon revealing a fierce disagreement about the central finding by the commission, in a draft report in February, that the major banks "hold substantial market power, as a result of their size, strong brands and broad geographical reach". In contrast, CBA said there was "vigorous competition for consumers" and the level of competition had increased over the past decade, evidenced by the long-term declining market share of the big four, and volatility in market share month-to-month. The nation's largest bank...
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Banking Royal Commission: We rely on car dealers to verify our loans, says Westpac Australian Financial Review Mar 21 2018 5:20 PM James Frost   Australia's largest provider of auto loans accepts customer information provided by car dealerships as gospel and does not independently verify the expenses – and in some cases income – of loan applicants. The Hayne royal commission heard from  Nalini Thiruvangadam on Wednesday about her experiences with car finance provided by Westpac. The part-time carer and recipient of Centrelink benefits was approved for a loan after submitting an application stating she had zero expenses. Westpac is the single largest provider of car dealership or white label financing. The bank approved hundreds of thousands of car loans in 2017 worth billions of dollars. Around 90 per cent of new cars sold in Australia are financed with 39 per cent of these loans originated through car dealerships. Westpac's general...
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Banking royal commission: ANZ is still charging the wrong interest rate Australian Financial Review Mar 21 2018 12:16 PM James Frost   Problems with ANZ's administrative systems that led the bank to charge customers the wrong interest rate are still being found almost 10 years after they were first discovered. Around half a million ANZ home loan customers were charged the wrong rate on their home loans after the bank failed to apply discount rates or factor in offset accounts leading the bank to pay as much as $90 million in remediation. During the hearing on Wednesday morning it was revealed that the bank was still picking up problems with the system as it was preparing its submission to the Royal Commission in January. The size of the most recent cohort identified by the bank has not been disclosed but believed to be significant. Counsel assisting Albert Dinelli asked ANZ's head...
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What drives ASIC's new chairman James Shipton Australian Financial Review Mar 19 2018 11:00 PM James Eyers   Towards the end of his nine-year stint at Goldman Sachs in Asia, James Shipton, the new chairman of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, had an epiphany. "I was proud of trying to help societies and economies, but I did ask myself the question, where do I fit into the broader diaspora and the broader perspective of finance?" he said in a moment of introspection during the ASIC Annual Forum on Monday. Self-realisation he needed to play in the big picture triggered a career shift for Shipton, to regulator and then teacher. He joined the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission in 2013, three years later was one of its commissioners, and last year was leading a research centre on the international finance system at Harvard University when ASIC came calling. But he...
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Commonwealth Bank's junk insurance scandal is as bad Matt Comyn predicted Australian Financial ReviewMar 19 2018 11:00 PM James Thomson   Commonwealth Bank chief executive-elect Matt Comyn warned his staff that it was this week of the banking royal commission that could get ugly for the bank. It only took until lunchtime on Monday for the new boss to be proved correct – and with one of the more egregious rip-offs that the commission has so far examined. Special counsel assisting the commission, Rowena Orr, QC, (whose masterful performance at these hearings surely makes her worthy of the nickname "Shock And") revealed that between 2011 and 2015, CBA sold credit card insurance to 64,000 customers who it knew had no chance of claiming benefits. Why was this insurance worthless for these customers? Because they were unemployed, on disability benefits, pensioners and students – not working more than 15 hours a week...
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