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TOPIC: VLSB "spies" on Prosecution Brief from FBI to AFP?

VLSB "spies" on advocates for the Royal Commission 1 month 1 day ago #3867

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Royal commission to focus on small business lending as banks troop back to the witness box
By business reporter Daniel Ziffer

Posted about 2 hours ago
The Commissioner Kenneth Hayne presides over the hearing
Photo: No rest for the allegedly wicked. Royal commissioner Kenneth Hayne turns his steely gaze to the banks dealing with small business in his next round of hearings. (AAP: Edie Jim)
Related Story: Royal commission sheds light on 'closed door deals' between ASIC and banks

The banking royal commission has been big. It's about to get small.

Small and medium enterprises are the focus of the next fortnight of hearings, beginning on Monday.

Karen Fairweather of Hoot Cards and Gifts in Melbourne's central business district is looking forward to an examination of merchant fees — the cost of transactions.

"The biggest issue for us is EFPTOS fees. You get charged so much for each transaction, every single time," she said.

Electronic funds transfer at point of sale (EFTPOS) and new tap and go technology can be great for consumers, but tough for retailers who must absorb the cost.
ASIC missing in action

ASIC is the law enforcement agency that shies away from enforcement, particularly at the top end of town, writes Ian Verrender.

A report written for the royal commission noted EFTPOS as an issue.

"Some businesses and representative bodies have noted the cost pressures imposed by payment systems, which may disproportionately impact SMEs that lack economies of scale," the report said.

Shopping around for a better deal doesn't work, Ms Fairweather added.

"We've tried and tried. They're obviously all talking to each other. They've made it hard to get a look in," she said.
Bank forced 'fire sales'
Nationals Senator John Williams during Question Time in the Senate chamber at Parliament House in Canberra.
Photo: Nationals Senator John 'Wacka' Williams says banks have been guilty of driving the "fire sales" small businesses and famers. (AAP: Mick Tsikas)

Nationals senator John Williams strongly advocated for a banking royal commission, to the irritation of some of his colleagues.

He expects the behaviour of Commonwealth Bank subsidiary Bankwest — and the selling of seized assets at "fire sale" prices — to be a key focus of the hearings.

"One thing that's become very clear to us over the years, is that when small businesses are sold up sometimes their assets are sold out very cheap, way below their value," he said, rattling off examples of $3.8 million farms sold for $800,000, and asset values halved, then sold low before being revalued at the original valuation.

"I think the biggest shock will be the price assets are sold for. There will be ridiculous prices paid for assets, far, far below their proper value."

There are five topics, with different groups and institutions forced to answer questions about them.

Let's go through each of the five topics in turn (even though previous hearings haven't always stuck to the order they'd set out at the start).

First up is "responsible lending to small businesses". We'll hear from ANZ, frequent fliers Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and for the first time: Suncorp and Bank of Queensland
Next is the "approach of banks to enforcement, management and monitoring of loans to businesses". That sounds to me like the "calling in" of mortgages and overdrafts, which has been a controversial practice that has created a lot of aggrieved small businesses. Who must answer for that? The Commonwealth Bank, Bankwest and NAB
Then it's "product and account administration". Could be anything. Your guess is better than mine. CBA (three from three!) and Westpac will field a witness on this topic.
Penultimately, the "extension of unfair contract terms legislation to small business contracts" will be scoped out by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC). After some searing exchanges during their appearances in the last hearing, this will be insightful.
Finally, the "Code of Banking Practice" will be examined. The Australian Banking Association, almost certainly represented by CEO Anna Bligh, the former premier of Queensland who has held the role since last year. ASIC will also have a say.

Council of Small Business Australia deputy chair David Gandolfo agrees that Bankwest will be a hot topic, but doesn't expect the shock and awe of the most recent hearings.
Banking probe poorly judged

The Government's misjudgement on the need for a banking royal commission has come back to bite it, writes Michelle Grattan.

But then again, it would be hard to top revelations that the nation's largest bank, the Commonwealth, knowingly charged dead people fees for years, or that the AMP board appeared to meddle in a report then sent to the regulator as an independent summary of a scandal.

"We're not going to see anything quite like what we saw in the first round in the second round and certainly not the degree of failure," Mr Gandolfo said.

"I'm sure we'll read, we'll hear about CommBank and the acquisition of Bankwest and what happened to some of the borrowers subsequent to that, and a similar situation with ANZ and landmark and non-monetary defaults and people being default through no fault of their own."

Mr Gandolfo said statistics of complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service show there's no market failure when it comes to the relationship between banks and small business.
Problems with access to credit

But there are issues.

"There is a problem with access to credit," Mr Gandolfo said.

"A lot of business owners are frustrated, they go their bank, their bank can't help them or (just) extends their overdraft or extends their home loan, which is not the appropriate solution.

"A lot of the time or if they can't get what they want from their bank, so they're going to fund their business on a credit card."

For Senator Williams, the revelations of the first hearings have opened people's eyes to some of the systemic and cultural problems in large financial institutions.

"I always say, life is about fairness, you must treat people fairly. So lying to ASIC! That is unbelievable," he said.

"Ripping people off! What came out of the last hearings trashed AMP ... who knows what'll come out of the next one."

You can follow Dan Ziffer's royal commission tweets @danziffer.
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VLSB "spies" on Prosecution Brief from FBI to AFP? 3 weeks 5 days ago #3875

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Howard Bowles case with Julia Gillard's Australian political trust fund scandal.

www.michaelsmithnews.com/2018/05/ms-gill...to-let-you-down.html
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APRA MOU with Austrac. 2 weeks 16 hours ago #3890

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Customers of APRA and KPMG officials legal ethics board claim it procured information from SEC Whistleblowers for criminal's associates in the gaming and accounting and stand over game during covert operations as APRA covered up the sandals that Austrac and the FBI and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force were onto. www.austrac.gov.au/media/media-releases/...randum-understanding. John Laker's and Wayne Byer's and Fiona Bennett's APRA should be investigated says Citizens Electoral Council and their supporters at the Royal Commission.
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APRA MOU with Austrac. 2 weeks 15 hours ago #3891

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The Chinese got Crown Casino''s database in a sting, and that sank the casino on The Spit, Cr. Tate. www.austrac.gov.au/media/media-releases/...s-historic-mou-china. www.austrac.gov.au/media/media-releases/...s-historic-mou-china. Is APRA's legal ethics board a great way for organised crime to find out what the likes of Austrac and foreign law enforcement are onto? Customers of the KPMG and APRA executives legal servies board aren't happy.
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APRA MOU with Austrac, Austrac mou with USA Brits 2 weeks 15 hours ago #3892

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Did McGarvie mislead the Counterterrorism Minister 1 week 6 days ago #3897

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To get information on SEC Whistleblowers and the covert operations that arested Resrve Bank document smugglers in the List at David Murray's FSI and at FOS like Mastercard's lawyer Keila Ravelo and the FBI investigations that prosecuted Auckland Savings Bank's I.T Experts in the CBA like Waldron Hunter and Defense company contractor Pulier, Howard Bowles and Michael Keith McGarvie's files invent a false petence that claims Jones was evicted. Except he sold to relatives of Pat Tehan QC, barrister in the Reserve Bank Bribery Scandal, who were Jones tenants namely Amanda Beresford Tehan Gwyneth Wallac and Rodney Wallace www.scribd.com/document/381246201/Transc...Consulting-28Nov17-3. Carrying out his leaked lans to lean on people, Dennis Sgargetta was advise by the Victorian Ombudsman that there could be corrupt conduct in McGarvie's board of executives who were from APRA and from the CBA's counterterrorism advisers KPMG. US Pension Funds know that KPMG and the CBA's highest executives knew that their I.T was exploited by organised crime and terrorsts. Who was Howard Bowles talking to because Jones was seller, not a evicted landlord Iif such a thing exists in Australia).
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