Trending Financial News 29 November

RBA hoses down money printing talk

Australia does not yet require a radical departure from conventional monetary policy into quantitative easing (QE) or ‘money printing’ said the  Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe.

Dr Lowe told a business function that the threshold for QE “has not been reached and I do not expect it to be reached in the near future”.

“QE becomes an option to be considered at a cash rate of 0.25 per cent, but not before that,” said Dr Lowe.

The RBA’s current cash rate setting is 0.75 per cent, following three rate cuts since June.

“There may come a point where QE could help promote our collective welfare,” said Dr Lowe, “But we’re not at that point and I do not expect us to get there.”

Will Australia get negative interest rates?

Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe has played down the possibility of radical new forms of monetary policy being implemented in Australia, including negative interest rates.

Dr Lowe said negative interest rates, where savers effectively have to pay to deposit money in the bank remain “extraordinarily unlikely” to occur in Australia.

“Negative policy interest rates have largely been a European phenomenon,” said Dr Lowe.

Australia’s financial markets “are operating normally and our financial institutions are able to access funding on reasonable terms” said Dr Lowe.

Westpac tackles financial crime

Westpac has established a financial crime committee to oversee reforms of the banks internal systems and processes. The committee has appointed IBM owned advisory firm Promontory to review the bank's failed financial crime program.

Westpac chair Lindsay Maxsted said the first priority for Promontory is reviewing issues associated with Westpac’s international money transfer service LitePay.

“If and where procedural, escalation or accountability failings are confirmed through Promontory's review, there will be immediate action taken.”

Financial crime is booming

Westpac has just appointed advisory firm Promontory to assist with reforming its financial crime prevention systems.

Jeff Carmichael from Promontory said rapid digitisation of the global economy has seen financial crime increase “exponentially”.

“As we have seen with Westpac, the implications of systems, personnel or governance failings around financial crime can be very serious.”

Westpac said recommendations of the Promontory reviews will be made public “and implemented as soon as possible”.

Watchdog gets new teeth

The Morrison government introduced new laws into Parliament yesterday to give the corporate regulator, the Australian Securities and Exchange Commission (ASIC) greater powers, following the recommendations of the Hayne Royal Commission into Financial Services.

The Financial Sector Reform (Hayne Royal Commission – Stronger Regulators 2019 Measures) Bill 2019 upgrades ASIC’s search warrant powers, ability to access telecommunications information, strengthens its licensing powers and extends its banking powers to ban individuals from managing banks, lenders and other financial services businesses.

The new bill draws on recommendations of the ASIC Enforcement Review Taskforce which reported to the government in 2017.

Singles can get a home loan

Single people, including single parents can still qualify and get approved for a mortgage. Some lenders will assist singles with parental guarantee home loans. State governments have First Home Buyer schemes. The federal government’s First Home Deposit Scheme kicks off on 1 January 2020.

Some lenders may recognise your casual employment income and Centrelink payments such as Family Tax Benefits when assessing your ability to repay a homeloan.

It is important to monitor spending, set a budget and be realistic about affordability, HomeStart Finance CEO John Oliver told News Limited.

“Single parents have to juggle the demands of childcare, school expenses and general household costs, all with limited money coming in.”

Is rent counted as savings?

Building up a home deposit and showing a lender a record of saving is the most difficult part of getting a home loan for most buyers. Some lenders may accept an excellent record of paying rent as evidence of saving.

“If you’ve been paying rent for some time, some banks will accept rent as almost genuine savings,” Cooper Financial Connections managing director Peter Cooper told News Limited.

“There are so many variables from one bank to the other,” said Peter Cooper.

If your bank says no you may still qualify for a loan with another bank said Mr Cooper.

“Others could be happy to lend,” said Mr Cooper.

The chances of the Reserve Bank of Australia cutting interest rates in December are very low. Futures markets have priced in a 13 per cent chance of the RBA cutting rates at the next board meeting on Tuesday 3 December.

Currently the RBA’s official cash rate is set at 0.75 per cent.

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