Sector News (Page 2)

4 December 2018

Big variance in banks’ granting assistance to struggling customers

Source: https://www.smh.com.au/money/

If you are in financial difficulty and you ask your bank for help, you’re more likely to get it from some banks than others.

A report by a committee set up by the Australian Banking Association (ABA) has found that while one of the big four banks grants 90 per cent of requests, two smaller banks grant just over 50 per cent of requests.

The Banking Code Compliance Monitoring Committee report, Assisting Customers in Financial Difficulty, specifically looks at how the banks deals with customers in financial difficulties.

In a sign that many Australians are doing it tough, requests by those in financial difficulty to their banks for assistance have increased by 47 per cent since 2011-12. Most of that increase occurred between 2011-12 and 2014-15 and has remained elevated since.

Continue »

20 November 2018

Power payment plans yet another cruel twist amid rising bills

Source: www.smh.com.au

Jane (not her real name) had fled from an abusive partner. She had slowly begun re-establishing her life with her two children, but money had been tight for some time. When her daughter fell ill, Jane had to take time off work to care for her, but as a casual worker she had no sick leave. She could not make payments on her debts, including utility bills.

Continue »

15 November 2018

Banks have answered the call by customers in financial difficulty, but more will need to be done before 1 July 2019 to be ready for the ABA’s new and enhanced Code

Source: Media Release

Australian banks have financial difficulty programs that, for the most part, meet the requirements under the 2013 Code of Banking Practice, according to inquiry findings released today.

 

The inquiry, Assisting customers in financial difficulty (Part 1), was conducted by the independent Banking Code Compliance Monitoring Committee (CCMC) and included data from banks and the views of consumer advocates.

Australian banks have financial difficulty programs that, for the most part, meet the requirements under the 2013 Code of Banking Practice, according to inquiry findings released today.

 

The inquiry, Assisting customers in financial difficulty (Part 1), was conducted by the independent Banking Code Compliance Monitoring Committee (CCMC) and included data from banks and the views of consumer advocates.

Continue »

2 November 2018

Progress on on-line gambling regulation in Australia

Thirty-three prominent offshore wagering sites withdrew from Australian markets over 12 months, according to a report on the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA) by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

Continue »

30 October 2018

Coalition rolls out $73m financial literacy program to help get household budgets on track

Source: https://ministers.dss.gov.au/

The Coalition Government is backing Australians who struggle with their finances by offering $73.5 million in help to get their household budgets into shape.

Federal Minister for Families and Social Services Paul Fletcher today announced the funding to support 50 organisations delivering financial counselling and financial competency services.

“Supporting vulnerable people who need help to organise their finances is part of the Liberal-National Government’s broader plan to make communities more stable,” Mr Fletcher said.

Continue »

22 October 2018

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman has published its 2017-2018 Annual Report today (17 October 2018).

Source: www.tio.com.au

Launching the report, Ombudsman Judi Jones said,

“The number of complaints about telecommunications services in Australia appear to be turning a corner.

“Declining complaints across all landline, mobile and internet services are a positive indicator of recent industry, government and regulator efforts to address the disruption to telecommunications products and services of the past few years.

“We all want to get to the same point, a positive consumer experience where expectations are more likely to be met. The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman continues to be committed to reducing complaints, and our purpose and unique role remains clear – to ensure residential consumers and small businesses have access to a free, fair, independent and effective alternative dispute resolution service.”

To read the full report access here

Continue »

16 October 2018

Lost his job, about to lose his house – and this WA man is not alone

Source: www.smh.com.au

Ray* is a rural West Australian who lost his job around 18 months ago and hasn’t been able to find another one.

He had to move out of his house and rent a room from a friend, as the Newstart unemployment allowance, which is well below minimum wage and the basic cost of living, left him unable to make his mortgage repayments.

After six months being unable to find a job he began trying to sell his house, but it’s sat on the market for the past year.

He rented it out, but the tenants stopped paying the rent then skipped out not only in arrears, but also leaving Ray with a $3500 water bill.

He’s been unable to get new tenants in.

There’s $135,000 still owing on the mortgage.

He’s now $12,000 behind on the repayments and can’t pay the $2000 rates bill from the council, let alone the $3500 water bill.

In an effort to cover his living expenses he maxed out his two credit cards from back when he had a job, and is now in debt to the tune of $14,000 and the debt collectors are now hounding him.

Continue »

10 October 2018

SAFCA announces new Chair of the Association

The SAFCA Board is now under the leadership of a new Chair. Carolyn Piper (former deputy Chair), commenced in the position at the SAFCA AGM held on Monday October 8.

Continue »

10 October 2018

Delaying benefit payments is saving the government millions

Source: www.theage.com.au

Scott Morrison’s first message to the people of Australia after being anointed Prime Minister was “we’re on your side”. It was a welcome change in message after he had previously used the term “taxed and the taxed-nots” as federal treasurer to describe the social security system.

Continue »

24 September 2018

Amid an epidemic of mortgage stress, a perfect financial storm is on the way, experts warn

As Australia’s levels of household debt relative to disposable income hit historic highs, experts are warning of a perfect financial storm on the horizon for struggling home owners with a surge in repayments set to hit interest-only home loans over the coming 12 months.

Homeowners, particularly in the mining states of WA and Queensland, are already grappling with a number of factors including unemployment, under-employment, stagnant wages growth and weak house prices.

Another looming threat is rising interest rates, with three of the four major banks raising variable home loan rates earlier this year independent of the Reserve Bank of Australia.

Continue »