News Pulse for May 22, 2018

A daily download of SME, startup, fintech and tax news from around Australia.

Banks rejected changes to small business lending rules 

Changes to bankers’ codes of practice were watered down in the face of bank objections, the banking royal commission has heard.

Philip Khoury, a consultant and former officer with corporate watchdog ASICAustralian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator. asic.gov.au, was appointed by the Australian Banking Association in 2016 to review the code of practice for small business lending in a process that went through to April this year when a final draft was released.

Banks confess new lows with business loans

The big four banks, Suncorp and BOQ have been cowed by the Hayne royal commission into confessing fresh examples of poor behaviour including fraud, incorrectly taking the homes of customers, overcharging and hounding customers over debts on the first day of hearings into small business lending.

The admissions were contained in submissions by the banks and were summarised by counsel assisting Michael Hodge QC as he set the scene for a damaging examination of how banks have treated small business operators and guarantors following earlier hearings that revealed abhorrent practices and claimed the scalpsAustralian Labor Party www.alp.org.au of AMP’s chairman and its CEO.

Evicting a blind old woman is Westpac’s public relations debacle

Big business borrowers have size on their side, consumers have a significant measure of protection through laws – but small business borrowers are deficient on both counts when it comes to dealing with banks.

In many respects small business borrowers share many more characteristics of a consumer in that they are unsophisticated, woefully light on the power scale against a major bank and they often use residential property to secure a loan.

A ‘Wiise’ partnership simplifies SME business management

An integrated cloud-based business platform will revolutionise and simplify accounting, payroll, banking and daily operations for Australian small and medium businesses from July 2018.

Combining the business expertise and software development teams of KPMG Australia (business advisory), CBA (banking) and Microsoft (technology platforms), Wiise is targeting SMEs that see themselves as having more complex needs due to issues around compliance, tax and employee payments.

ABA, ASIC at odds over ‘small’

Australia’s banks remain locked in a dispute with the corporate regulator over a new industry code of conduct that has been running for at least four months.

As it kicked off another fortnight of public hearings, the financial services royal com­mission yesterday heard the Australian Banking Association last month produced a new version of its proposed code of conduct, beefing up customer protections from a draft produced in December. However, in order to have the force of law, the code needs approval from the Australian Securities & Investments Commission, which has yet to occur.

MYOB and BPAY collaborate to speed up business payments

MYOB has teamed up with BPAY to offer a new invoice payment method, which was rolled out to MYOB customers last week (May 15), allowing businesses to get paid up to four times faster.

MYOB Head of Product Marketing, Kim Owen-Jones said that giving customers the choice of BPAY as a payment method would provide even more ways for businesses to get paid faster.

Shoebox returns near end

The humble group certificate, long the centrepiece of tax returns, will soon disappear, ending generations of shoebox accounting by taxpayers.

The Australian has confirmed that the group certificate will start being phased out from the 2018-19 financial year for staff of companies with 20 employees or more. It will almost disappear by 2020 when remaining small employers come on board.

Data privacy regulations causing headaches for AU businesses

Global and regulatory landscapes are tightening to ensure more data privacy in the face of increasing data sharing and cyber threats, and while many Australian businesses have prepared for the Notifiable Data Breaches scheme, fewer are prepared for GDPR.

Those are some of the findings from Webroot’s global report, Data Privacy and Regulation: The Worldwide Race to Comply. It surveyed 600 IT decision makers, of whom 200 were from Australia.

Small businesses need urgent protection from fintech ‘Wild West’

On Monday, the banking royal commission began looking at lending to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and there’s an issue that urgently needs to be raised.

The fintech industry has grown rapidly in the last few years in response to funding demands from SMEs that can’t be met by traditional lending sources like banks.

Tips, comments or suggestions? Let me know in the comments, send me an email or tweet me @simeonduncan.

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