Sector News (Page 8)

7 April 2017

Australia’s household debt crisis is worse than ever as bills pile up and wages flatline

It’s incredibly cliched, I know, but in Australia right now, it’s true: the rich are getting richer, and the poor — well, you know the rest.

We’re talking credit card debt, and mortgage repayments. But those bills are becoming harder and harder to meet as the price of gas and electricity rises, and wages continue to grow at a snail’s pace.

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4 April 2017

Empowering Low-Income Households through Electricity Decarbonisation

Rising energy prices hurt people experiencing poverty and disadvantage. As does climate change. At the moment Australia is failing to address either. Change is urgently needed.

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29 March 2017

Radio Rentals facing class action over ‘Rent, Try, $1 Buy’ scheme

Retail giant Radio Rentals is facing a class action on behalf of thousands of customers who have allegedly been ripped off while leasing household goods.

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27 February 2017

Free basic computer skills tutorials!


For FREE basic computing skills tutorials click on the web-link above!

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21 February 2017

Banking Code compliance monitor welcomes review of its work

The Code Compliance Monitoring Committee (CCMC) has welcomed the findings of a review of its work monitoring compliance with the Code of Banking Practice.

Thirteen banking groups – covering 95% of the Australian retail banking market – subscribe to the voluntary Code, which sets standards of good practice in the banking industry. The CCMC is the Code’s independent monitoring body.

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8 February 2017

Register Now for SAFCA PD Day

Go to the “continuing professional development” page in the members area to register.

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31 January 2017

Government response to the final report of the review of the small amount credit contract laws

The Turnbull Government has today released its response to the final report of the independent review of the small amount credit contract (SACC) laws.

The Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, said the Government supported the vast majority of the recommendations, in part or in full.

“The final report has made a number of recommendations designed to increase financial inclusion and reduce the risk that consumers may be unable to meet their basic needs or may default on other necessary commitments,” Minister O’Dwyer said.

“Implementation of these recommendations will ensure that vulnerable consumers are afforded appropriate levels of consumer protection while continuing to access SACCs and leases.”

To read the full article, click on the link below


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30 January 2017

Afterpay is the new way to pay but is it a good idea or should we still use cash

THE instant gratification of purchasing goods and walking away with them in hand without paying a cent is becoming so normal now shoppers don’t even blink an eye.
We want things now, right now, not later, regardless of whether or not we can afford them.
Long gone are the days of using the old-fashioned lay-by system that I remember vividly growing up to pay for goods.

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24 January 2017

Financial Counselling Australia Announces New Board

Financial Counselling Australia is delighted to announce the membership of its inaugural Board under its new constitution.

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17 January 2017

Best & Less stores promoting loans from payday lender.


16 January 2017 | Family retailer receives a referral fee for every application.

Family retailer Best & Less is promoting a payday lender in its stores and taking a cut for every customer who signs up.

Strategically placed at the cash register of Best & Less stores are large signs holding application forms for loans up to $5000.

Best & Less does not provide the payday loans, that’s an affiliate company known as Capfin, but for every application made, the retailer earns a ‘referral payment’.

Payday loan providers have earned a bad reputation. They are known for nefarious lending practices, charging expensive fees and targeting the financially vulnerable.

The most expensive loan offered by Capfin is $5000 over a year-and-a-half. Charges to the loan are as high as the federal law allows; a capped application fee of $400 and an annual interest rate of 48%.

Best & Less chief executive, Rodney Orrock, says the the retailer is simply promoting an affiliate company.

“We are an advertising channel, through which Capfin is able to advertise its offer,” he says in a statement emailed to CHOICE.

“We do not provide, nor submit any applications for Capfin.”

But the promotional material is in stark contrast to the vibe of the ‘family friendly’ retailer, says Peter Thompson, who was confronted by the sign as he was buying socks for his wife.

“The wife sent me into Best & Less to get her a few pairs of socks. At the checkout, there was a large cardboard cutout just off to the side promoting loans and a pile of applications.

“Naturally it kind of disgusted me as Best & Less is joining the bandwagon, not as a community service, but to take advantage of certain people who may be finding the going a bit hard.

“I didn’t think there was much left in the barrel’s bottom to scrape, but somehow this lender [Capfin] has found a way to get that bit extra.”

Best & Less’ website claims the loans target the “3 million Australians [who] have experienced exclusion from mainstream lending”.

Partnering with Best & Less is a ‘predatory’ move by Capfin, says Graham Smith, Chairperson of Financial Counsellors Association of NSW.

“Best & Less is considered a family store who is spruiking that people can get even more credit when they can’t afford it. And they’re also partnering with a lender that’s certainly questionable.”

Smith compared the lending practice to a whirlpool that “drags you in and gets you caught in a debt cycle”.

Regulatory protections were introduced by the federal government in 2013, but Smith says payday lending practices weren’t tightened enough.

“There were a number of payday lenders that were reduced, but it seems those that are still around are having greater access to people. They’re being smarter.”

More than 10,000 customers have been overcharged when taking a payday loan in the last six years. The money was refunded – almost $2 million – following enforcement action by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).

Best & Less operates 195 stores across Australia.

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