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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Firms involved in alleged China visa scam The Australian 12:00am March 2, 2019 Anthony Klan   EXCLUSIVE  Two companies with links to China’s Communist Party have allegedly been used to obtain ­permanent residency visas for Chinese ­nationals smuggled into Australia as highly paid corporate ­executives. Company and immigration documents appear to show the companies have abused a loophole that allows foreigners to ­obtain permanent residency via 186 employer sponsorship visas, if they are coming to work for an Australian company in a position paying a salary of at least $180,000. The loophole also allows foreigne­rs to bypass English-­language requirements and worker skill verifications. The Weekend Australian has obtained “employment contracts” and associated Department of ­Immigration visa approvals relating to a number of Chinese citizens that appear to show the companies, both run by Chinese nationals, have engaged in the alleged visa scam. One of the companies is the ASX-listed ASF Group;...
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Housing price falls worst since 1984 The Australian 12:00am March 2, 2019 Turi Condon   The housing market has not hit the bottom yet, with prices around the country falling again in February, and Sydney’s annual decline breaking through the 10 per cent barrier for the first time since the early 1980s, according to ­researcher CoreLogic. But the pace of the price falls is easing, though the softening market is spreading across the country as tight lending conditions and nervous consumers weigh on the market. Six of the eight capital cities ­recorded falling monthly values, CoreLogic’s February home value index showed. “We might be moving through the eye of the storm,” said CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless. “I’d be surprised if it gets worse from here.” However, it would be early next year before the market had bottomed. A raft of figures released over the past week show the souring...
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Speculation: Forty per cent of Melbourne housing lots are resales Australian Financial Review Feb 28, 2019 5.05pm Larry Schlesinger   More than a third of all Melbourne housing lots advertised online are re-sales by buyers who can't get financing or speculators trying to flip sites prior to settlement, according to research by RPM Real Estate Group. The group, which sells lots across dozens of estates in Melbourne and Geelong, said the secondary land market had "peaked" and prices could fall as settlement looms and buyers try to sell to avoid losing their deposits. RPM's quantifying of the secondary land market follows warnings in December by Financial Review Rich Lister Nigel Satterley that around 5000 lot sales in Melbourne's new housing estates would either default or have to be on-sold quickly over the next 30 months due to Uber-driving speculators and foreign investors not being able to get finance. Mr Satterley doubled-down...
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Bill Shorten pledges to build a national fuel reserve Australian Financial Review Feb 28, 2019 5.20pm Phillip Coorey   Labor leader Bill Shorten has promised to establish a national fuel reserve if elected, warning that Australia's current low stocks presented a risk to national security. With MPs from both major parties calling for the problem to be addressed, Mr Shorten said a Labor government would begin consultations to build reserves ensuring Australia had a 90-day supply, something it last had in 2012. "National security isn't just about our defence forces, or our security agencies," he said in a speech in Perth on Thursday. "National security also means investing in our national fleet, our merchant marine. And national security means investing in our long-term fuel security. "This is an insurance policy for the nation, an investment that protects us against international supply shocks." The government rejected the idea as too expensive, estimating...
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We’ll all pay later for Australian Major Bank probe The Australian 12:00am March 1, 2019 Maurice Newman   Not all bankers are psychopaths. Not all of them are Machiavellian narcissists who lack conscience and empathy. Yet if you had read the papers or tuned into the nightly news as they reported on the banking royal commission, you could be forgiven for thinking they are. Because of their position of trust and the perceived knowledge asymmetry in retail markets, bankers are held to a high standard of behaviour, as they should be. The commission noted this by publicly identifying numerous examples of misconduct. Most of these had already been uncovered and were being addressed by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. It may be hard to imagine today, but in the years ahead, when the political atmosphere is less charged, analysts may well observe that Kenneth Hayne’s royal commission was ill-conceived and ill-timed....
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Capital Capers Cartel action entangling ANZ is set to be the most closely watched test case The Australian 12:00am March 1, 2019 Joyce Moullakis   The cartel action entangling ANZ is set to be the most closely watched test case in recent history, given the potential implications for Australia’s capital markets. The Australian understands the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is due to further outline its case against ANZ and its investment bankers in a more detailed statement due on March 19. The long-awaited document sets the scene for the criminal action and adds to a much shorter brief of evidence provided to the parties last year. It’s been a long gestation time for those whose careers are treading water or on hold after the competition regulator spectacularly lodged the action more than eight months ago. The criminal charges relating to a 2015 capital raising were laid against ANZ, Deutsche Bank...
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RBNZ could end big four's NZ super profits Australian Financial Review Feb 28, 2019 6.00pm Sarah Turner   The era of Australia's big four banks earning super profits in New Zealand could be over, forced to an end by the RBNZ's push to lift capital levels in the banking sector. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand's demand that banks raise their capital buffers to the highest in the world could trigger more than $8 billion of fresh equity to be raised, according to S&P, in a sector that is dominated by Australia's big four. ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac lend nine out of every 10 dollars in New Zealand, and the RBNZ believes its capital call will level the playing field for smaller institutions and make the banking system safer. New Zealand has been the "jewel in the crown" for Australia's lenders for a long time, economist Cameron...
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Bill Shorten’s complaints regime could force banks to behave The Australian 7:49am February 27, 2019 Robert Gottliebsen   Bill Shorten’s plan to increase the number of government and bank funded financial counsellors from 500 to 1000 sent a shiver though many bank branches and lending departments. Those who were there during the lending frenzy of a few years ago know better than many bank senior executives how the staff bonus incentives encouraged many to “sell” loans harder than was financially prudent. A lot of people borrowed beyond their ability to repay. But everything was fine as long as property values kept rising, because that injected equity into the loan arrangements. But thanks to the tighter lending rules we’ve seen recently, dwelling prices have fallen, and a lot of borrowers now find themselves owing more than their dwellings are worth - a negative equity situation. And now Labor says there are to...
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Fund managers finger tight credit as key driver of housing downturn: UBS survey The Australian 12:38pm February 26, 2019 David Rogers   If we are having a credit crunch in Australia, Reserve Bank officials and the big four bank economists don’t see it yet. But limited credit availability is already the main driver of house price declines, according to the consensus of more than 100 fund manager clients of UBS. “When investors rank the top issue or driver for house prices, credit availability was very far ahead — consistent with the UBS credit tightening thesis as the main driver,” said UBS chief economist George Tharenou. “That’s followed by a similar focus on tax and regulatory changes, demand, interest rates, while housing supply is a lesser issue.” His UBS Evidence Lab survey early this month found fund manager sentiment about the outlook for house prices over the next 12 months was “very...
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Why Opal Tower owners are the lucky ones Australian Financial Review Feb 27, 2019 11.00pm Jimmy Thomson Jimmy Thomson edits the strata living advice website flat-chat.com.au. Different states have different strata laws.   The owners of apartments in the now notorious Opal Tower probably don't realise it, but they are lucky. Obviously it was bad luck that supporting walls in their building in Sydney's Olympic Park started cracking. However, they should be glad that the ensuing evacuation happened in the full glare of the media on Christmas Eve last year. The owners of the other 85 per cent of new apartments that allegedly come with defects are a lot less fortunate. The NSW government released its report into the cracks in the Opal last week and, when you strip away the dense technical references of this comprehensive study, the conclusions make disturbing, if predictable, reading. To summarise, some of the prefabricated...
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Pre-election anger as taxpayers foot the bill for politicians' TV ads Australian Financial Review Feb 27, 2019 5.48pm Andrew Tillett   Coalition MPs will have a $22 million war chest to air TV and radio advertisements after the Morrison government quietly tweaked the rules to expand the use of their taxpayer-funded budgets for their offices. As Labor threatened to make MPs repay money if the change was not reversed, the government defended the move, saying it would end an anomaly and allow rural MPs to better communicate with constituents. The fresh controversy over politicians' perks comes as new figures show spending on advertising campaigns spruiking government policies over the past year has already soared past $250 million less than three months from polling day. Campaigns have included promoting tax cuts, school funding and energy policy, costing taxpayers $600,000 a day, or $25,000 an hour between the beginning of last year and...
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Committee Secretary Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee PO Box 6100 Parliament House Canberra, ACT, 2600 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Re: Resolution of Disputes with financial service providers within the justice system The Abomination known as AFCA This is a summary list of the reasons why AFCA is an afront to The Rule of Law and must be shut down as a national priority: Designed to subvert the protections of the Australian Constitution; Denial of Natural Justice: - No right to an unbiased decision maker - No right to a fair hearing No right of review of the decision-making process afforded by the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 (Cth); No right of a merits review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal; Designed to avoid Parliamentary oversight; A private company and not a Government Agency; Funded by the Big Banks instead of being publicly funded; Politically compromised by have a former Liberal Party Minister as...
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Kenneth Hayne's final royal commission report held back 'heavy hits' from the banks ABC News26 February 2019 Stephen Long   The body language said it all. On the afternoon of Monday, February 4, representatives of the banking lobby and various other interest groups were locked in a windowless room at Parliament House, perusing the three-volume report of the Hayne royal commission before its public release by the Treasurer. Some 35 minutes into the lock-up, Anna Bligh, chief executive officer of the Australian Banking Association, sat back, relaxed and looked around the space. Bligh's brow unfurrowed and the tension in her shoulders slipped away. Her minions kept reading, but the former Queensland Premier had seen enough to know that it was a good outcome for the banks. "Fifteen minutes in, people were looking perplexed," recalls someone who was in that room. "Where were the heavy hits?" About the same time as Ms...
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IMF sounds alarm on Aussie debt bubble Investor Daily26 February 2019 James Mitchell   The International Monetary Fund has recommended that APRA takes a forensic “deep dive” into the credit risk management frameworks of Australian banks. The IMF has released its Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) report on Australia. While the comprehensive review was generally positive towards the domestic economy and the role of the prudential regulator, it did warn of key risks to the financial system. The IMF noted that stretched real estate valuations and high household debt pose macro-prudential risks to Australia. “House prices, after rising by about 70 per cent over the past decade at the national level, have now started to decline,” the report said. “The price appreciation following the global financial crisis had been even higher in Sydney and Melbourne, where prices had doubled on average over 10 years, though these two cities have also experienced...
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This fight is over standards of living Australian Financial Review Feb 25, 2019 11.45pm Craig Emerson Craig Emerson is managing director of Craig Emerson Economics, a Distinguished Fellow at the ANU and adjunct professor at Victoria University's College of Business. [And a former Labor trade minister (2010-13);   Amid the myriad political scandals of the recent parliamentary sitting fortnight, a report by the IMF on prospects for the Australian economy was released to a distracted Canberra press gallery. Among the IMF's many economic projections was one measuring the material living standards of Australians. It received no coverage whatsoever. Yet in that official projection lies Australia's economic challenge and the Morrison government's immediate political challenge. As ministers participated in the scandal-a-thon, it was hardly surprising that the IMF's report on Australia received so little coverage outside of The Australian Financial Review. It certainly was not top of the bulletins on the nightly television...
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ASIC wants laws to lock more bankers in jail Australian Financial Review Feb 26, 2019 12.00am John Kehoe, James Eyers   The corporate regulator is pressing the federal Parliament to enact tougher laws to make it easier to jail rogue bankers in order to deter misconduct and improve culture in the financial services industry. Under a proposal that will set off alarms in the finance sector, corporate cop Daniel Crennan, QC, wants the Corporations Act amended to enable more prosecutions of individuals for egregious conduct at financial institutions. Mr Crennan, ASIC deputy chairman, has made the case in Canberra for the law reforms to the offices of Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and shadow treasurer Chris Bowen, so ASIC can meet expectations of the community to "pursue individual responsibility for the purposes of deterrence". "There are probably some other legislative improvements to fix individual responsibility so ASIC can more easily pursue individuals for...
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NAB digs in over fees-for-no-service conduct Australian Financial Review Feb 25, 2019 11.00pm James Frost   EXCLUSIVE  NAB is preparing to dig in and defend itself against allegations it charged superannuation customers for services it never provided by sticking to its line that offering customers advice is just as good as providing it. The fight with the corporate regulator on this matter is now in its fifth year and the landmark case will head to court in May. Court documents obtained by The Australian Financial Review show that despite deciding to fully compensate all the customers affected plus interest, NAB will argue that in many of the cases its behaviour was "flawed" but not illegal. The fees-for-no-service issue exploded during 2018 when it was revealed the banks had been dragging their heels on repaying customers for a practice that is now expected to cost the banks upwards of $2 billion and...
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Extra bank capital in NZ could trigger $8.1 billion in equity raisings S&P Australian Financial Review Feb 25, 2019 4.04pm James Eyers   S&P Global Ratings expects the major banks will have to raise $8.1 billion in additional equity capital to maintain capital ratios in Australia if the Reserve Bank of New Zealand continues its plan to push bank capital buffers to the highest levels in the world. The international ratings agency said the moves would strengthen the credit profile of the major banks' subsidiaries in NZ and its ratings would be unchanged. However, the action would be a big cost for the major banks, which lend $9 in every $10 in New Zealand, forcing them to raise additional equity to maintain "Level 1" (Australian parent) capital ratios. ANZ Banking Group and National Australia Bank would require the most capital, according to S&P's analysis, with each needing $2.4 billion to maintain...
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Deutsche Bank analysts warn car loans pose profit risk for big banks Australian Financial Review Feb 25, 2019 4.45pm Jonathan Shapiro   Late payments on car loans could wipe out as much as 23 per cent of big banks' profits, say Deutsche Bank analysts who have flagged the problem as an understated risk for investors. In a note titled Is there a canary in the car?, Deutsche Bank analysts Matthew Wilson and Anthony Hoo argue that an increase to more normal loan-default levels could affect bank profits and force dividend cuts. Although consumer loans, including car loans, are often overlooked by investors because they account for just 2 per cent of total loans, Deutsche Bank points out these exposures account for 34 per cent of common equity tier-1 capital, while 17 per cent of net profits are exposed to the sector. An increase in late payments could wipe out between 5...
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Christian Porter gave ex-adviser $250,000 job on public tribunal Sydney Morning Herald February 25, 2019 11.45pm Michael Koziol   EXCLUSIVE  Attorney-General Christian Porter has appointed one of his own ex-staffers to a plum job on the Administrative Appeals Tribunal just two months after the former adviser left his office. Mr Porter last week appointed William Frost, a lawyer and his former senior adviser, to a seven-year, full-time position on the review tribunal, a position that pays up to $244,520 a year. Among the other 34 new appointments to the tribunal were several former Liberal MPs such as Bob Baldwin, former Senate president Stephen Parry and Joseph Francis, formerly a Liberal minister in Mr Porter's home state of Western Australia. The West Australian revealed on Monday that Mr Francis' Australian Transit Group lent Mr Porter a campaign bus - nicknamed the "Porter Transporter" - on a "complimentary" basis, though Mr Porter said...
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