Home loan commitments gathered pace in November 2011, the same month the Reserve Bank cut interest rates for the first time in almost three years. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show the number of loans taken out for owner-occupied homes rose 1.4 per cent to 46,953 for the month, seasonally adjusted. It was the eighth consecutive monthly rise and the largest gain in six months. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had forecast a rise of 1 per cent. The number of mortgages for new homes rose 2 per cent in the month, while those for established homes rose by 1.6 per cent. But the number of loans to build new homes continued to fall for the third straight month, down 0.4 per cent to 4,828 in November. First-home buyers returned to the market, making up 20 per cent of loan commitments in the month, the highest proportion since February 2010 and in line with the long-term average. Read the full article »»»»
US securities regulators have sued six former executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, including ex-CEOs of both mortgage finance companies, saying they misled investors over exposure to risky home loans.
The Securities and Exchange Commission sued three former executives at Fannie Mae and three at Freddie Mac. The civil charges were brought in two separate lawsuits filed in the US District Court in Manhattan.
The SEC accused former Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd, former Freddie Mac CEO Richard Syron and four other defendants of knowingly approving false statements to investors that drastically misrepresented the extent of the firms’ exposure to toxic mortgages. Read the full article »»»»
I’ve banked with a small bank – Bendigo Bank – since my return to Melbourne 8 years ago. Australia’s big banks have plenty of critics, and now they can add the Small Business Ombudsman to that fast growing list.
The high profile Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, who has authored a report released today into banking practices, has found lenders are not being fair when they enter into contracts with small and medium-sized businesses.
The big four banks enjoy a $19 billion advantage over their smaller rivals by still being able to self-calculate the riskiness of their home loans according to analysis from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.
Despite a new regulatory framework requiring the big banks to hold larger top tier capital buffers, their ability to internally assess their asset risks is still a huge advantage in terms of the amount of “expensive” capital locked up and their ability to access cheaper funding.
While the CBA, NAB, Westpac and ANZ are now required to base their regulatory capital on a blanket of at least 25 percent of mortgages being at risk, smaller lenders must base their risk weightings at 39 percent :: Read the full article »»»»
The Australia Institute has called for changes to capital gains tax, claiming exemptions are costing the Federal Budget $48 billion. It’s recommended removing exemptions for the family home if it’s valued more than $2 million.
The think-tank has proposed changes to capital gains tax, claiming it would save the Federal Budget $12 billion. Under the proposal, the family home would no longer be exempt from the tax if it’s valued more than $2 million.
However, the housing industry has downplayed the idea, claiming it could put pressure on the property market :: Read the full article »»»»