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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The coming of Aussie quantitative easing Australian Financial ReviewMay 10, 2019 10.13am Christopher Joye The author is a portfolio manager with Coolabah Capital Investments, which invests in fixed-income securities including those discussed by this column.   The Reserve Bank of Australia’s governor Phil Lowe passed our controversial intelligence test with flying colours by surprising many of the best forecasters in the business with his sensible decision to wait on rates. And contrary to claims at the time, this has no ramifications for the RBA’s inflation targeting regime—whether it goes in June, July or August does not make a jot of difference to the ensuing economic outcomes. While I personally felt Lowe would be mad to go in May, immediately prior to the meeting I was torn on what he would do in practice. Based on both the RBA’s past behaviours (where it has not hesitated to pull the trigger close to...
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Life after Libor: be prepared or risk financial meltdown, ASIC warns The Australian 12:00am May 10, 2019 Richard Gluyas   ASIC has warned chief executives of a possible financial meltdown unless they adequately prepare for the likely demise of the global benchmark interest rate Libor in 2021. In an alert reminiscent of the Y2K information technology scare that ultimately failed to ­materialise, the watchdog has written to CEOs of the nation’s top financial institutions to seek an assurance that they understand the risks associated with a global move to new benchmarks that were less vulnerable to ­manipulation. “The transition away from Libor may have significant implications for the entities’ risk management, operational processes and information technology infrastructure,” the letter said. “Insufficient preparations for the transition could have a negative impact on the entities’ business, clients and the markets in which they operate.” The letter, which was strongly supported by the Reserve...
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Construction jobs casualty of property market downturn The Australian 12:00am May 8, 2019 Turi Condon   The housing downturn is flowing through to job losses in the construction sector with employment in the industry falling at its steepest rate in nearly six years, according to the Australian Industry Group/Housing Industry Association construction index. Activity in the construction industry weakened further in April with the index falling 3 points to 42.6 for the month. Readings below 50 show falling activity. Employment fell 6.9 points to 39.2. “The housing and apartment sectors both remain firmly in negative territory and commercial construction recorded a ninth month of contraction,” Ai Group head of policy Peter Burn said. Weakness in the sectors was partially offset by an expansion in engineering construction on the back of large-scale publicly funded infrastructure projects. But Dr Burn said there was little sign of any near-term improvement. “There are now strong...
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Big banks on war path over NZ central bank’s bid to raise minimum capital The Australian 12:00am May 9, 2019 Richard Gluyas   The nation’s big four banks are on a collision course with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, and judging by the hostile rhetoric there’s no sign of the combatants taking a backward step. Final submissions are due by May 17 on the RBNZ’s proposal to increase minimum capital requirements by $13 billion-$16bn for the three banks that reported half-year results over the last week — ANZ, National Australia Bank and Westpac. The central bank is due to make a final decision by September. The stakes are enormous given the big four earn 15 per cent of their combined profit, or $4.4bn, in NZ — a market where they control 88 per cent of industry assets. The combative tone adopted by the banks, set by ANZ chief executive Shayne...
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Westpac ‘outlier’ on loan approvals, ASIC case told The Australian May 9, 2019 Joyce Moullakis   Westpac has conceded it was an outlier among its rivals in the way it assessed a borrowers’ ability to repay interest-only loans before changing its policy in mid-2015. On the third day of a Federal Court battle against the Australian Securities & Investments Commission, the regulator’s lawyers peppered Westpac managers with questions seeking to establish that the bank didn’t adhere to responsible lending obligations. Jeremy Clarke SC, for ASIC, argued that from 2011 to 2015 Westpac didn’t make an adequate assessment of customers’ ability to repay mortgages when they changed from interest-only to principal and interest. Westpac’s Robert Love, head of credit risk optimisation, admitted the bank had been an outlier in how it assessed those loans but noted the process had changed following an internal review. “We saw this change as an enhancement to...
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Australia's riskiest suburbs for home loans revealed as banks push for higher deposits ABC News9 May 2019 Kathryn Diss   A new crackdown on property lending has emerged in the wake of the Banking Royal Commission, with borrowers now being asked for deposits of up to 30 per cent and banks throwing greater scrutiny on location and living expenses when assessing loans. The pull back on new finance comes in the wake of a scathing assessment of the nation's banks delivered by Commissioner Kenneth Hayne. But the squeeze on credit has coincided with tumbling house prices on the east coast, creating what analysts have branded a "perfect storm" for borrowers trying to access finance. While the biggest changes to lending standards happened between 2015 and 2017, banks have continued to bolster their assessment processes, now giving a specific focus to the living expenses of borrowers. In addition, data obtained by the...
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Australian savers doomed to be worse off after forecast interest rate cuts ABC News 9 May 2019 David Taylor   Millions of Australians who have stashed money at their local bank branch could soon be earning next to nothing, if the Reserve Bank cuts interest rates as expected. "It's potentially a gigantic issue," CLSA banking analyst Brian Johnson warned. Despite enormous pressure from financial markets, the Reserve Bank held its nerve on Tuesday and left the cash rate unchanged at the record low level of 1.5 per cent. But most economists expect it will cut the cash rate this year, probably twice. Normally when the Reserve Bank cuts the cash rate the banks follow suit by passing that rate cut onto borrowers. Mr Johnson said that was even more likely now in the wake of the banking royal commission. "When you think of the politics of where we are right now,...
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Austerity 'populism' burdens households, RBA: PIMCO Australian Financial ReviewMay 9, 2019 12.32am Jonathan Shapiro   Global bond giant PIMCO says the Australian economy will remain reliant on ultra-low interest rates and a highly geared consumer until politicians can achieve a better mix of fiscal and monetary stimulus. The $2.5 trillion fund’s Australian portfolio management head, Robert Mead, says a failure of governments to borrow money to spend on productive investments such as infrastructure represents poor economic management and will only serve to increase the burden on monetary policy at a time when the economy is weakening. “It has been a populist approach to balance budgets, which is all good in a perfect world, but we are not living in that world,” Mr Mead told The Australian Financial Review. “This is a world where the consumer has been asked to do all the borrowing and somehow that is OK, and we have...
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Austerity 'populism' burdens households, RBA: PIMCO Australian Financial Review May 9, 2019 12.32am Jonathan Shapiro   Global bond giant PIMCO says the Australian economy will remain reliant on ultra-low interest rates and a highly geared consumer until politicians can achieve a better mix of fiscal and monetary stimulus. The $2.5 trillion fund’s Australian portfolio management head, Robert Mead, says a failure of governments to borrow money to spend on productive investments such as infrastructure represents poor economic management and will only serve to increase the burden on monetary policy at a time when the economy is weakening. “It has been a populist approach to balance budgets, which is all good in a perfect world, but we are not living in that world,” Mr Mead told The Australian Financial Review. “This is a world where the consumer has been asked to do all the borrowing and somehow that is OK, and we have a government...
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Australian savers doomed to be worse off after forecast interest rate cuts ABC News 9 May 2019 David Taylor   Millions of Australians who have stashed money at their local bank branch could soon be earning next to nothing, if the Reserve Bank cuts interest rates as expected. "It's potentially a gigantic issue," CLSA banking analyst Brian Johnson warned. Despite enormous pressure from financial markets, the Reserve Bank held its nerve on Tuesday and left the cash rate unchanged at the record low level of 1.5 per cent. But most economists expect it will cut the cash rate this year, probably twice. Normally when the Reserve Bank cuts the cash rate the banks follow suit by passing that rate cut onto borrowers. Mr Johnson said that was even more likely now in the wake of the banking royal commission. "When you think of the politics of where we are right now,...
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Austerity 'populism' burdens households, RBA: PIMCO Australian Financial ReviewMay 9, 2019 12.32am Jonathan Shapiro   Global bond giant PIMCO says the Australian economy will remain reliant on ultra-low interest rates and a highly geared consumer until politicians can achieve a better mix of fiscal and monetary stimulus. The $2.5 trillion fund’s Australian portfolio management head, Robert Mead, says a failure of governments to borrow money to spend on productive investments such as infrastructure represents poor economic management and will only serve to increase the burden on monetary policy at a time when the economy is weakening. “It has been a populist approach to balance budgets, which is all good in a perfect world, but we are not living in that world,” Mr Mead told The Australian Financial Review. “This is a world where the consumer has been asked to do all the borrowing and somehow that is OK, and we have...
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Fact check: Employment in Australia is worse than you think MichaelWest.com.auMay 6, 2019 Alan Austin Alan Austin is a freelance journalist with interests in news media, religious affairs and economic and social issues.   In case RMIT/ABC Fact Check have missed this, Alan Austin analyses the facts and refutes the claims by the Coalition that it has served workers well and is the better economic manager. VIRTUALLY THE entire developed world has enjoyed a phenomenal boom in investment, jobs and profits since 2014. Only a few poorly-managed economies have missed out on near-record employment growth. That dismal group includes Australia. Comparable countries The biggest winners in the jobs boom over the last five years have been the economies whacked most severely by the 2008 Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Spain’s jobless rate has tumbled from 26.09 per cent of the work force in 2013 down to 14.70 per cent now. More than...
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Westpac defends lending habits The Australian 12:00am May 8, 2019 Anthony Klan   Westpac has criticised the corporate regulator’s enforcement of responsible lending laws as a “new idea” and says its wronged borrowers could make lifestyle changes to meet repayments in its defence of allegedly breaking lending laws more than 260,000 times. Fronting the second day of hearings in the Federal Court in Sydney, lawyers for Westpac said the bank had “done its utmost to meet its legal requirements” and that it was not in the bank’s interests to make loans to borrowers who could not afford them. The Australian Securities & Investments Commission has claimed Westpac engaged in a “systemic approach” of ignoring the living expenses that borrowers declared when applying for loans 261,987 times between December 2011 and March 2015. ASIC and Westpac had agreed the bank would pay a $35 million penalty, however last November the Federal Court...
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  Fitch: RMBS investors spooked by housing crash MacroBusiness 12:15 pm on May 8, 2019 David Llewellyn-Smith   Via Fitch today: Housing Downturn Fears Escalate: Within the space of a year, falling house prices have risen to be the most serious threat to Australian credit markets, according to Australian fixed-income investors. Fitch Ratings’ 2Q19 survey reveals that 70% of investors rank a domestic housing-market downturn as the top risk to Australian credit markets over the next 12 months. When we asked the same question a year ago as part of our 2Q18 survey, only 29% of investors rated a housing downturn as a high risk. Weak House-Price Outlook: The vast majority (95%) of investors expect house prices to keep falling over the next 12 months –15% foresee falls of greater than 10%, while not one investor believes prices will rise. In light of this, it is no surprise that investors assess...
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Will the house price collapse result in a recession? UNSW Newsroom 08 May 2019 Julian Lorkin   Policies proposed for the federal election risk making a bad situation worse, says UNSW Business School's Jonathan Reeves. “If the current downward house price trend continues at a similar rate for the remainder of this year, this will take the fall past 20 per cent from the peak,” says senior lecturer Jonathan Reeves from UNSW Business School. “How far house prices will drop will depend on the level of timely fiscal stimulus provided by government.” Property prices fell in every capital city except Canberra last month, with Sydney and Melbourne continuing to lead the annual price declines. There were double-digit falls over the past year, including a 0.7 and 0.6 per cent decline respectively in April. Dr Reeves feels some policies suggested ahead of the forthcoming federal election may exacerbate the declines. “Proposals to...
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ASIC tallies Westpac’s responsible lending law breaches The Australian 12:00am May 7, 2019 Anthony Klan   Westpac broke responsible lending laws more than 260,000 times in just over three years, the corporate watchdog had told the Federal Court in Sydney this morning. Lawyers for the Australian Securities & Investments Commission said between December 2011 and March 2015, Westpac engaged in a “systematic approach” of ignoring the living expenses loan applicants had stated on application forms. Instead it relied on broad living expense “benchmarks”, which, if they were true, would in some cases have meant the loan applicant was already living on, or close to, the poverty line, ASIC told the court. ASIC said Westpac failed to properly verify the actual financial positions of borrowers a total of 261,987 times. In 154,351 of those cases, the bank also failed to use correct figures when assessing if borrowers taking out interest-only loans could...
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Foreign banks 'distort' home loan market Australian Financial Review May 6, 2019 5.18pm James Frost, James Eyers   Westpac says foreign banks and non-banks are creating “distortions” in the market as they chase market share unencumbered by the restrictions placed on mainstream lenders. Westpac chief executive Brian Hartzer said he expected the situation to normalise, but for the time being the regulators remained almost exclusively concerned with the activities of the big four banks. “We are certainly seeing very aggressive growth in the home loan market from foreign banks and I should also say non-banks” Mr Hartzer said. “My sense is that regulators don’t like distortions in the market and this will return to normal over time.” Westpac’s first-half result was marred by the comparatively weaker performance of the consumer bank, where cash earnings fell 11 per cent to $1.5 billion. Net operating income fell 10 per cent from the previous...
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Desperate savers create 'diabolical' dilemma for banks Australian Financial Review May 6, 2019 7.30pm Duncan Hughes, James Eyers   Ultra-low interest rates on online savings and transaction accounts have created a "floor" that will make it more challenging for banks to manage additional cuts to official interest rates, the chief financial officer of Westpac Peter King warns. Mr King was speaking after Westpac reported a 22 per cent lower half-year profit and as analysts flagged concerns that savers will suffer if the Reserve Bank reduces the official cash rate to 1.25 per cent. While the major banks offer term deposits where interest rates averaging 2.3 per cent could still be cut further on the back of an RBA cut, many deposits are held in accounts paying much lower interest. For example, of Westpac's total deposits of $512 billion, $146 billion, or 29 per cent, is held in transaction accounts which pay...
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Nicholas Moore exits Macquarie with $27.9m payout The Australian 12:00am May 4, 2019 Joyce Moullakis   Macquarie Group’s former boss Nicholas Moore has departed the Millionaire’s Factory with a $27.9 million bumper payday, and continues to “provide services” to the asset manager and investment bank. Macquarie’s annual report, released to the ASX, showed Mr Moore’s exit pay sitting at $27.9m, including total direct remuneration for his time as CEO during Macquarie’s 2019 year of $13.6m. His retirement at the end of November spurred the bringing forward of previous-year share awards of about $18.2m, boosting the final payday. That figure relates to retained pay since 2011, the vesting of which was accelerated because of Mr Moore’s departure. The payment included a salary of $554,645, short-term bonuses of $3.2m and equity awards including shares of $20m. Mr Moore also has $81.5m, as at the March 31 Macquarie share price, of restricted share units....
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NAB, Clydesdale sued in UK over business loans The Australian 7:18am May 3, 2019 Kirstin Ridley (Reuters)   About 150 companies have launched a London lawsuit against Britain’s Clydesdale Bank and its former owner, National Australia Bank, alleging they were deceived when they took business loans from the bank up to 18 years ago. RGL Management, a company managing the group claim for the small and medium- sized businesses, said it expected to add hundreds more claimants to the lawsuit by year end and recover hundreds of millions of pounds in losses. James Hayward, the CEO of RGL Management, said Clydesdale’s conduct towards its customers has been “utterly disgraceful”. He said RGL had also instructed lawyers in Scotland, where Clydesdale is based, to bring proceedings as soon as legislation is changed to allow group claims there. A spokeswoman for Clydesdale said the bank had yet to receive details of the case....
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