Finance

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On 15th February, a package of reforms to improve credit card lending and marketing practices passed Federal Parliament. Consumer advocacy groups Consumer Action Law Centre and CHOICE are relieved to see the important reforms finally enacted after a long consultation process. The reforms will: require affordability assessments to be based on a person’s ability to…

Read More Consumer groups welcome credit card reforms

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In its submission to the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, CHOICE has called on the Commission to use its special powers to compel banks, insurers and lenders to provide evidence behind high fees and harmful practices. “CHOICE is calling for the Royal Commission to use its powers to…

Read More Call for banks to provide reasons behind harmful practices

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Consumer Action Law Centre has published part 2 of its submission to the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Finance Sector. The submission draws on the experience of the Centre assisting Victorians through legal advice and representation, and financial counselling. The submission identifies various drivers of misconduct or conduct falling below community standards and expectations,…

Read More Consumer Action Law Centre: Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Finance Sector, part 2

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Consumer Action Law Centre has published part 1 of its initial submission to the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Finance Sector today. The submission draws on the experience of the Centre assisting Victorians through legal advice and representation, and financial counselling. The submission identifies various kinds of misconduct by financial services,…

Read More Consumer Action Law Centre: Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Finance Sector, part 1

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Financial Counselling Australia (FCA) welcomes today’s announcement from the ACCC that they will continue to allow the banking industry to subsidise privately provided ATMs in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The ACCC needs to authorise this arrangement as its collective nature means it would otherwise breach Australia’s competition laws. At a time when…

Read More FCA welcomes ACCC determination extending fee-free ATMs in Remote Communities

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Financial Counselling Australia (FCA) welcomes the Government’s proposals to curb gambling advertising on radio and television. Although a complete ban on advertising is preferable, the Government’s plan to prohibit gambling advertising during live sports events between 5:00am and 8:30pm is a step in the right direction. We are alarmed, however, that the broadcast industry is…

Read More Proposed curbs on gambling advertising a good first step

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The Turnbull Government will legislate a national Consumer Data Right, allowing customers open access to their banking, energy, phone and internet transactions. Australians will be able to compare offers, get access to cheaper products and plans to help them ‘make the switch’ and get greater value for money. Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus…

Read More Australians to own their own data

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Customers continue to be frustrated by bank staff providing incorrect information about cancellation of direct debits, according to two separate reports released by the Banking Code Compliance Monitoring Committee (BCCMC) and the Customer Owned Banking Code Compliance Committee (COBCCC) respectively. The BCCMC report found that more than half (54%) of bank staff tested gave customers…

Read More Banks Continue to Provide Incorrect Information about Direct Debit Cancellation

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Financial Counselling Australia welcomes funding of $7.4 million in yesterday’s WA State budget to reinstate and expand financial counselling services. Financial counsellors work in community organisations, providing advice to people struggling with bills and debt. In a tight budgetary environment, the funding is a clear recognition by the WA government that investing in preventative services…

Read More Financial Counselling Australia WA Funding for Financial Services

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It has been eighteen months since the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) warned the Federal Government that so-called “debt management” firms are engaging in misleading and predatory conduct. The Consumer Action Law Centre wrote to the Federal Government shortly afterwards, calling for better regulation in the sector, but have yet to receive a response.…

Read More Federal Government Silent on Debt Vulture Warnings

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The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) Enforcement Review Taskforce is conducting consultations on a number of proposed reforms to improve the enforcement powers of ASIC. The Taskforce  has just released a series of consultation papers. Recent media reports and Parliamentary inquiries have revealed the impact that poor financial services practices have on people’s lives, leading to intense regulatory scrutiny and reduced consumer confidence. One of the key…

Read More ASIC Taskforce Signals Shift from Self-Regulation in Finance Industry

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‘Independent’, ‘independently owned’, ‘non-aligned’ – financial advisers use a variety of terms to promise a lack of conflict of interest. But what do these terms mean? And what is required before an adviser can lawfully use them? ASIC has clarified its position on the use of restricted terms relating to the independence of financial advisers after seeking…

Read More ‘Independent’ Means Independent – ASIC Clarifies Financial Adviser Terms