Thursday, May 31, 2018

NAB interrogates customer who claims bank sent him broke

National Australia Bank has cross-examined a business customer who says he was sent to the wall when the bank pulled in his debts at the height of the global financial crisis. 

Ross Dillon who ran National Music sold his house to put $300,000 into the business but the NAB clawed back all the proceeds to pay off his outstanding debts. 

ABC's Peter Ryan says it's the first time a bank has aggressively defended its actions during the hearings.

Here's my story from The World Today

ASIC boss James Shipton says cancelling a financial services licence an option not taken lightly

ASIC chairman James Shipton confirms the regulator has the option of suspending or cancelling a financial services licence, but says it is not a unilateral or automatic power. 

ABC's Peter Ryan says if ASIC wins tougher powers from the federal government, it would be truly seen as a tough corporate cop on the beat.

Listen to my coverage on this morning's AM

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Hotel developer says Bankwest harsh tactics during global financial crisis sent him broke

The financial services Royal Commission has been hearing about harsh tactics used by the Commonwealth Bank-owned Bankwest to pull in a hotel developer's business loan at the height of the global financial crisis. 

The action by Bankwest to claw back loans has been described by developer Michael Doherty as a "cash grab" that ultimately sent him broke. 

ABC's Peter Ryan says it's the latest evidence of banks playing hard at the time of the financial crisis.

Here's my report from The World Today

Super timebomb? Australia's superannuation system outdated says landmark Productivity Commission report

Australia's superannuation system is an "unlucky lottery" for many members, with nest-eggs being eroded by unnecessary fees and underperforming funds. 

A damning draft by the Productivity Commission out today says the $2.6 trillion industry created by Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating in 1992 now has major structural flaws. 

Commission deputy chair Karen Chester tells ABC's Peter Ryan that workers should be given a single default account when they start their careers to eliminate multiple accounts and fees that run into billions of dollars each year.

Listen to my report from this morning's AM program where I speak with Productivity Commission deputy chair Karen Chester

Read my story from ABC News Online

Here's the Productivity Commission's draft report

Monday, May 28, 2018

Financial services ombudsman agrees widow needed more time to repay Suncorp loan

A grieving widow should have been given more time to repay her late husband's outstanding loans to Suncorp, the financial services Royal Commission has heard. 

Philip Field from the Financial Ombudsman Service agreed in hindsight that giving Jennifer Low twelve to eighteen months to settle the loans was not realistic and that he should have contacted Suncorp to change the terms of the repayment.  

Here's my report from The World Today

Racial discrimination proven in migrant worker exploitation case; Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James cites "uncomfortable truth"

Two Malaysian workers of Chinese descent in Australia on temporary visas were deliberately exploited, underpaid and discriminated against by a Tasmanian hotel operator because of their race, a Federal Circuit Court judge has ruled. 

Read my story on ABC News Online

The landmark outcome of action by the Fair Work Ombudsman's first racial discrimination litigation has seen the now former hotel operator fined a total of $211,104. 

ABC's Peter Ryan speaks with Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James who says it highlights "an uncomfortable truth" about the exploitation of migrant workers on 457 visas.

Fair Work Ombudsman v Yenida Pty Ltd

Friday, May 25, 2018

Westpac cut corners in classifying loan residential rather than commercial

The financial services Royal Commission has heard how the race for banker commissions might have contributed to a loan being wrongly classified as residential rather than commercial. 

Westpac executive Alastair Welsh conceded that a Bank of Melbourne banker got it wrong and may have been driven by performance targets in cutting corners to get the loan approved. 

Away from the Royal Commission, the Commonwealth director of public prosecutions Sarah McNaughton says there is no confirmation that her budget for fighting financial crime will be extended beyond this financial year.

Here's my report from The World Today

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Bank of Queensland admits error on approving franchise loan which went into immediate default

The financial services Royal Commission has heard that the Bank of Queensland mishandled a small business loan for a teacher to buy two Wendy's franchises which went into immediate default. 

Away from the Royal Commission, ABC's Peter Ryan says Westpac has had a partial victory after being accused of manipulating the bank bill swap rate. 

The Federal court says while Westpac breached the ASIC Act four times, ASIC was unable to prove the market manipulation or market rigging.

Read the key except from the Westpac BBSW ruling from Justice Beach

Reserve Bank governor Dr Philip Lowe warns surging China debt risks "serious accident"

Reserve Bank governor Dr Philip Lowe has warned that surging debt levels in China raises the risk of a "serious accident". 

Speaking at the Australia-China Relations Institute, Dr Lowe did not directly comment on political tensions between Australia and China but said there "can be ups and downs" in all relationships. 

ABC's Peter Ryan says Dr Lowe's direct comments are significant given concerns about Australia's diplomatic impasse with China.

Here's my report from this morning's AM

Read the speech from Dr Philip Lowe