Ombudsman warning over unfair clauses

Original article by James Eyers
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 21 : 6-Sep-19

Small business ombudsman Kate Cornell suggests that around 50 per cent of all ‘standard form contracts’ offered to small businesses by service providers outside the banking sector could contain clauses that deemed to be unfair. Carnell says that some of the worst offenders in this regard include companies in the advertising and rubbish removal sectors. She has called on companies that may have unfair terms in their contracts to remove them, as to avoid being sued. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank and the Bank of Queensland are being sued by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. OFFICE OF THE AUSTRALIAN SMALL BUSINESS AND FAMILY ENTERPRISE OMBUDSMAN, BENDIGO AND ADELAIDE BANK LIMITED – ASX BEN, BANK OF QUEENSLAND LIMITED – ASX BOQ, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION

Treasurer’s tariff plea to Trump

Original article by Michael Roddan
The Australian – Page: 2 : 24-May-19

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has urged US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to "amicably" bring an end to the trade war with China. Frydenberg made his plea after Mnuchin rang to congratulate him on the re-election of the Coalition government. Council of Small Businesses of Australia CEO Peter Strong says that up to 15 per cent of Australian small businesses trade globally, so the current trade tensions are causing them great concern.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, UNITED STATES. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, COUNCIL OF SMALL BUSINESS ORGANISATIONS OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED, ORGANISATION FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

White Collar wipeout

Original article by Robert Gottliebsen
The Australian – Page: 27 : 17-Apr-19

Media reports have suggested that the Commonwealth Bank and ANZ are looking to retrench up to 25 per cent of their staff. Rival banks will also need to reduce wage costs in order to remain competitive. Meanwhile, new technologies such as artificial intelligence and block chain will result in much bigger job cuts over the next decade, and in a wide range of sectors. The public service offers the greatest potential for major staff cuts, but unions will resist any such move. With fewer job opportunities in the future, more Australians will need to start their own business; in this context, the federal government’s move to establish a small business tax tribunal that is independent of the Australian Taxation Office is to be welcomed.

CORPORATES
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, ACTU

Small biz bosses in fear of Labor

Original article by Adam Creighton
The Australian – Page: 15 & 18 : 25-Jan-19

The Executive Connection’s CEO Confidence Index fell 10 points to 112 in December, the first consecutive decline in two years. The Index is based on responses from around 110 small business owners, with nearly 60 per cent stating that a Labor government would be bad for their business. Labor has foreshadowed a series of tax increases that are tipped to raise $200 billion over a decade, although it has proposed a more generous investment allowance. Over 70 per cent of small business leaders surveyed expect that property prices will continue to fall.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, SYDNEY, MYOB GROUP LIMITED – ASX MYO, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP

Banks pledge to lend but with caveats

Original article by James Eyers
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 : 12-Nov-18

Australia’s major banks have urged the financial services royal commission not to over-regulate the way in which they assess corporate borrowers. The banks state that this would make it harder to increase their lending to small and medium enterprises. Their urgings have come as federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg called upon the banks to "keep open the books", while National Australia Bank executive Anthony Healy says the bank is more willing to lend to SMEs without proper security.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC

Big four return fire on business lending

Original article by James Frost, James Eyers
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 3 : 13-Jun-18

Australia’s major banks have used submissions to the banking royal commission’s third round of hearings to refute suggestions that they had engaged in serious misconduct. Some of the banks acknowledged that they had breached the code of banking practice with regard to small business lending, but they maintained that such transgressions were relatively minor and did not constitute a breach of the law.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, FINANCIAL OMBUDSMAN SERVICE LIMITED, PIE FACE PTY LTD

Westpac ends referral deal with Prospa

Original article by James Eyers
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 15 & 28 : 12-Jun-18

Westpac has terminated a referral arrangement with fintech Prospa that it established in 2015. The arrangement saw Westpac refer customers that did not meet its lending criteria to Prospa; it is understood that not many referrals had been made under the agreement. The ending of the agreement is seen as being prompted by Westpac’s desire to increase the amount of unsecured loans it makes to small businesses, and comes after Prospa postponed plans to list on the Australian sharemarket.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, PROSPA GROUP LIMITED ASX PGL, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, MYOB GROUP LIMITED – ASX MYO, LIBERTY FINANCE PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, FINTECH AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA. OFFICE OF THE AUSTRALIAN SMALL BUSINESS AND FAMILY ENTERPRISE OMBUDSMAN

Bank confessions reach new lows

Original article by James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 4 : 22-May-18

The banking royal commission is currently examining small business lending, with public hearings on the issue commencing on 21 May. Counsel assisting the commission read out a summary of admissions of poor behaviour in this area from various banks, including a confession from the Bank of Queensland that it had been charging corporate loan customers the wrong interest rates and fees. The commission was told that 87 per cent of loans to small businesses are secured by real estate.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, BANK OF QUEENSLAND LIMITED – ASX BOQ, SUNCORP GROUP LIMITED – ASX SUN, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, AUSTRALIAN BANKERS’ ASSOCIATION

Westpac in hot seat over business lending

Original article by James Frost, James Eyers, Edmund Tadros
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 6 : 21-May-18

The banking royal commission’s third round of hearings will focus on loans by banks to small and medium businesses. The hearings are expected to examine issues such as unfair contracts, what defines a small business and the banking code of practice. Australian Banking Association CEO Anna Bligh is among the witnesses who are scheduled to appear before the inquiry, while Westpac is expected to come under attack over its lending practices to small businesses.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, AUSTRALIAN BANKERS’ ASSOCIATION, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, CAMERON RALPH PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, SUNCORP GROUP LIMITED – ASX SUN, CUSTOMER OWNED BANKING ASSOCIATION, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ

Company tax cuts lift jobs growth

Original article by Adam Creighton
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 3-May-18

Small Business Council of Australia CEO Peter Strong says an analysis of data on the impact of tax cuts for businesses with turnover of up to $A2m strengthens the case for across-the-board corporate tax relief. The analysis by AlphaBeta shows that 19 per cent of businesses that received the tax cut in 2015 had hired additional staff in the following two years, while three per cent increased their employees’ wages. Companies that received the tax cut also created jobs at a faster pace than companies that were just above the turnover threshold.

CORPORATES
COUNCIL OF SMALL BUSINESS ORGANISATIONS OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED, ALPHABETA, XERO LIMITED – ASX XRO, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, QANTAS AIRWAYS LIMITED – ASX QAN, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIAN GREENS