Christmas shopping scams booming in 2019 Already, before the end of November, more money has been lost online to shopping related scams in 2019 ( over $4 million) than for all of 2018 ($3.28 million). Scamwatch says scammers target Christmas shopping, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. “Reported losses have tripled over three years,” said ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard. To find out more about how to tell a fake site from a real online shop, read more at InfoChoice. Westpac loses CEO and chairman Westpac chief executive Brian Hartzer and Westpac chairman Lindsay Maxsted will both leave the bank following revelations the bank facilitated payments to child exploitation services in the Philippines. Lindsay Maxsted said the Westpac board accepted the gravity of the issues raised by the regulator Austrac. “We sought feedback from all our stakeholders including shareholders,” said Mr Maxsted, “It became clear that Board and management changes were in the best interest of the Bank.” Westpac’s Chief Financial Officer Peter King will take over as acting CEO while the bank searches for a new chief to replace Mr Hartzer. Westpac faces more investigations Corporate regulator ASIC has launched an investigation into Westpac following the legal action brought against the bank by financial crimes regulator, Austrac. And banking industry regulator, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority is also assessing whether Austrac’s allegations require it to take action under the Banking Executive Accountability Regime, reported BankingDay.com. Westpac yesterday met with institutional shareholders over concerns it may not have adequately disclosed its AML compliance issues in its annual report and offer documents for a recent capital raising. NAB joins First Homebuyers scheme National Australia Bank is the first bank to be appointed by the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) to offer mortgages under the Federal Government’s new First Home Loan Deposit Scheme. “We’re proud to be chosen to partner with the Federal Government and NHFIC on the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme,” said NAB’s Mike Baird. The Scheme starts from 1 January 2020. Read more about the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme at InfoChoice. Mr Baird said NAB is the only big bank with a special rate for first homebuyers currently 2.88 per cent p.a. fixed for two years (comparison rate 4.34 per cent pa). Term deposit leader Judo changes rates Judo Bank, leader in the term deposit market, has revised all its term deposit rates. Judo’s 12-month rate is still 2.0 per cent pa with interest paid at maturity. Judo is paying up to 2.5 per cent pa on five-year terms. Six-month term deposits are currently set at 2.0 per cent pa as well. Judo’s term deposits are online and sign up is easy and takes just minutes. Read more about leading term deposit rates in November at InfoChoice. Cashrewards is number one for cash back shopping Cashrewards.com.au claims to be Australia’s number one cashback shopping site with $75,000,000 paid out and 525,000 Aussie customers since launching five years ago. Cashrewards has grown customer numbers by 225,000 in little more than one year. Competitor Shopback.com.au has ten million members in Australia and the Asia Pacific. Read more about cash back shopping at InfoChoice. Median Australian house price rising fast The median Australian house price was $516,710 in June 2019 according to CoreLogic, up from $382,650 ten years ago. That represents an annual growth rate of 3 per cent. Household incomes have risen 3.1 per cent pa over the same time period according to data from ANU, helping keep housing more affordable. Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart property prices have risen at a faster rate than household incomes which has eroded affordability in those markets.