Pulse Alert – News Pulse for February 1, 2019

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

Bankers brace for criminal charges and shareholders may foot the bill

The banking industry’s chief lobbyist concedes that civil or criminal referrals to Commonwealth prosecutors are a live possibility, when the final report of the banking royal commission is released on Monday.

The former Queensland Labor premier, now chief executive of the Australian Banking Association, Anna Bligh, said banks are bracing for “sobering reading and some very serious recommendations” when commissioner Kenneth Hayne delivers his recommendations after the close of trade on Monday.

Frydenberg flags ‘in principle’ support for Hayne’s bank blueprint

Treasurer Josh FrydenbergThe Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Federal Member for Kooyong Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia from 21.9.15 has indicated the government is likely to adopt – in principle – all of Royal Commissioner Kenneth Hayne’s recommendations, but insists it will also act to safeguard the “free flow of credit” in the economy.

“In principle, our intention would be to implement Commissioner Hayne’s recommendations, but we need to see the report before we can make a final decision,” Mr Frydenberg said in an interview on the eve of receiving the landmark final report into misconduct in the Australian financial sector on Friday.

ASIC planning to issue new responsible lending guidance following Hayne

The corporate regulator is set to clarify how lenders should be meeting their responsible lending obligations, in a move that may entrench a modified version of the controversial Household Expenditure Measure and allow for technology to help banks make faster decisions.

With the final report of the banking royal commission, to be released on Monday, expected to provide a verdict on whether banks are doing enough to check customers’ living expenses before they lend, banks want more guidance from the Australian Securities and Investment Commission to avoid prosecutions.

Is the Coalition’s economic pitch out of date?

This week Prime Minister Scott MorrisonThe Hon. Scott Morrison, Federal Member for Cook Treasurer from 21.9.15 gave the same speech his Treasurer, Josh FrydenbergThe Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Federal Member for Kooyong Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia from 21.9.15, gave last week.

That suggests it’s a speech they want to keep giving all the way to the election, which in turn means we’re watching the Morrison government draw its battlelines, on the economy at least.

Scott Morrison warns against rash response to banking royal commission

Prime Minister Scott MorrisonThe Hon. Scott Morrison, Federal Member for Cook Treasurer from 21.9.15 says the Australian economy faces “significant consequences” if the banking royal commission triggers a credit crunch, while warning an election contest over which party is tougher on the beleaguered financial services industry risks undermining the system.

Mr Morrison, who was treasurer when the Coalition ordered the royal commission despite opposing an inquiry for years, predicted former High Court justice Kenneth Hayne’s final report would contain “legitimate” criticism of the government’s financial regulators when publicly released on Monday.

Press Release: World-first innovations to MYOB Practice halve time spent on compliance workflow, announces MYOB, as INCITE 2019 kicks off

MYOB today announced the beta phase of its new cloud compliance workflow, inviting accountants to sign up for the beta trial program. The intelligent workflow system will reduce rekeying of data and clicks, for example from 24 to four for one common.

In a move that will reimagine the compliance workflow, MYOB has created a user-friendly interface within its MYOB Practice product for accountants – the cloud evolution of MYOB’s AE/AO – that enables practices to seamlessly integrate any data, such as invoices, and workpapers across every element of the compliance

Australian Buy Now Pay Later businesses discuss the utility of Open Banking Regime 

On 22 January 2018, two of the largest ‘buy now, pay later’ businesses in Australia, Afterpay and Zip.co, appeared at a hearing before the Senate’s Economic References Committee.

During the Senate hearing, both Zip.co and Afterpay presented how their respective business models operate and responded to questions about how the ‘buy now, pay later’ industry should be regulated. As previously mentioned , ‘buy now, pay later’ businesses are not currently classified as ‘credit providers’ under the National Credit Code ( Code ) and, as such, are not subject to the responsible lending obligations under the Code.

AI Solutions for SME Lending

Daniel Katz, VP business operations at Lending Express, on how AI tech could unlock funding for thousands of SMEs

SME lending is booming in Australia, indicating huge potential for alternative online lenders. Figures from OnDeck show that online SME lending is reporting higher growth rates than those seen in the US at a comparable stage. Research shows that, by 2020, annual originations could exceed $2bn.

Carnell warns of credit crunch

Small business ombudsman Kate Carnell has called on the Hayne royal commission, policymakers and regulators to work harder to get small and medium business on a firmer footing against the banks or risk a “credit squeeze” in the $300 billion sector.

Her comments come as new research from fintech lender and aspiring bank Judo Capital shows startling results about small businesses’ access to credit and frustration with the banks.

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

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