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CAFBA Supports the Rural Finance Reform Bill

  In February the Rural Finance Reform Bill was presented to the House of Representatives by Rebekha Sharkie (MP for Mayo) and read for the first time. The Bill calls for an amendment to the Banking Act 1959 in relation to loans to primary production businesses. CAFBA supports this Bill, which follows on from the good work in this area by Kate Carnell and the ASBFEO. This Bill provides greater certainty for primary producers regarding their rights when in financial hardship. In her address to Parliament, Ms Sharkie made a couple of important observations recognising the cyclical nature in assessing business loans compared to consumer loans. Ms Sharkie said “ Primary producers ride the swells of international commodity markets, exchange rates and weather, their fortunes so often dictated by factors well beyond their control. Family farmers hope to make profits over a multiyear cycle, using the good years to build their financial buffer to see them through the bad.” This Bill avoids the problems associated with the drafting of NCCP 2. The ABSFEO commented that “This Bill will provide a range of suitable protections for small farm businesses. It reflects the recommendations of the Select Committee on Lending to Primary Production Customers and the ASBFEO Small Business Loans Inquiry.” Some important features of the Bill are: It also provides adequate timeframes for the primary producers to attempt to refinance their facilities, or sell their assets, without it impacting on the management of the farming business, or devaluing their assets through a “fire-sale” The one-pager, plain English fact sheet will more easily outline the primary producers rights and obligations as...

CAFBA Applauds Productivity Commission Report

The Commercial Asset Finance Brokers Association of Australia has welcomed the Productivity Commission’s draft report into competition in the financial system, but calls for POS exemptions to be revisited and for the regulator to “stop putting band aids on a great big bleeding wound”. Speaking to The Adviser after the Productivity Commission (PC) released its draft report into competition in the financial system on Wednesday (7 February), CAFBA’s vice president, Kathryn Bordonaro, said that the association welcomed the majority of the findings and recommendations related to SME lending. Ms Bordonaro noted that while she was still analysing the 640-page report, her initial reactions were that it showed “good in-depth knowledge and understanding of [SME lending] issues” and was “well researched”. “My first reaction was that I was very glad to see that the report has kept a very clear line between home loan, consumer lending and SME lending,” Ms Bordonaro said. “Quite often you see reports and responses from government departments and regulators where all credit is planted in one pot, and this report I would commend for recognising the different needs of those two separate markets, the different players that are in those industry sectors and keeping that very clear line.” Ms Bordonaro noted that while the only mention of brokers in the draft report relates to mortgage brokers (and not commercial brokers), she said that “perhaps commercial brokers don’t get a mention because we haven’t had any problems in our sector”. She elaborated: “We’ve very much flown under the radar because there is not a problem there that needs addressing. So, maybe that is why [commercial brokers] don’t get a mention...

APRA Reveals Plans for 2018

Commercial lending and capital requirements to be targeted but investors and interest only not mentioned APRA has revealed its policy priorities for 2018, with bank capital requirements and commercial lending flagged for review. Following the Basel Committee’s latest round of changes to bank capital requirements, APRA is now tasked with adapting these requirements to Australia. Banks are unlikely to see material changes this year, APRA notes: “given the need for extensive consultation, APRA does not expect to finalise the suite of prudential standards until 2019 or later.” 2018 will also see APRA develop a prudential practice guide for commercial property lending, an area in which the regulator has intervened heavily in recent years. However, no timelines is set for its publication. The coming year could also see all authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs) given the right to call themselves banks. This depends on revisions to the 1959 Banking Act being passed; APRA would then by tasked with implementing changes. Investor lending What isn’t included among APRA’s 2018 priorities is investor lending. Brokers and their investor clients have borne the brunt of APRA’s interventions in the sector, starting in 2015 with a 10% speed limit on bank investor lending growth which remains in place. Last year saw increased regulation of interest-only lending, with banks being instructed to restrict interest-only loans to 30% of their portfolio. Whilst investor lending has waxed and waned since – with many banks hitting the speed limit before slowing down – the long-term impact of APRA’s interventions has been to raise investor’s interest rates. Rates for investors are now almost always higher than for owner-occupiers; QBE predicts...

It’s Time for A a Qualification in Commercial Finance

CAFBA is particularly focussed on education in commercial finance, to not only professionalise the industry but as a way of attracting the right new entrants. Whilst the current minimum educational requirement is a Certificate IV in Finance and Mortgage Broking, this certificate is consumer finance focussed, and CAFBA saw the need for a curriculum to train new entrants in commercial finance. Expanded educational offerings can attract a new generation of brokers who are attracted to a profession that offers a credential and a structured career path. As the first generation of brokers exit the industry, CAFBA is preparing to handover leadership of the profession to a new cohort of brokers. CAFBA has therefore developed a new curriculum, which is a Certificate IV in Financial Services: Commercial and Asset Finance. It is expected that this new curriculum will go live this month. It is an extensive course that will train the new broker in all facets of commercial finance. Mid-year CAFBA expects to launch the more advanced Diploma in Financial Services: Commercial and Asset Finance which concentrates on a more in-depth analysis. This is an exciting development as there is no other course available in the market as comprehensive or focussed on the practical aspects of commercial finance.  And, following the ASIC and APRA reviews last year and the Royal Commission that’s just been called, the CAFBA focus on education and professionalism is the right way forward for us as an industry. Brokers and brokerage firms come in all forms and sizes; Home loan brokers, business finance brokers, commercial mortgage brokers, asset finance brokers, development finance brokers etc etc.  There...

Renee Tocco – Member Profile

How did you become a commercial finance broker? My entrepreneurial drive has led me through a multifarious career, which enhanced my business acumen, life and people skills and ultimately equipped me to start my own business. The majority of my professional career has been in the ICT and Telco industry, working in top end account management and as a specialist in acquisition. I had a short and fruitful stint as a Real Estate Agent working for Ray White. This was my first introduction to finance broking, but I was well versed in the finance requirements in the ICT Industry, the seed was planted and the idea took form to start my own Finance Broking Business. My dream developed over the following several years, until finally in 2015 I took the biggest and best risk of my life. With a flair for corporate sales and innovation, I identified the specific area of asset finance that I believe had had room for progress and I immediately realised this was a great opportunity. Loanezi , founded in 2015 is my greatest achievement thus far, and I can finally say that I have found the industry I was born for. What do you enjoy most about being a broker? I love being an innovator in this industry, I challenge the status quo and believe that I am pioneering change in the Industry I adore. Fresh eyes and a novel approach has resulted in simple improvements and tweaks that all brings forth some necessary changes that makes life easier for our clients and ourselves. I embrace innovation that has purpose, an industry that does...

A Strategy Moving Forward.

Most of us will be back from a well-earned break and as we know it isn’t long before we are caught up in the “day to day activities” of our broking business. Whilst we have to do the operational stuff to make money I thought it worthwhile to share some of what CAFBA has undertaken “strategically” with some of the learnings from this process that can be applied to any business. Last year (as previously advised in CAFBA communications) a strategic review of CAFBA was undertaken by the CAFBA board (outside of our usual monthly board meetings). The purpose of this review was to put in place a formal strategy plan for the association into the future. Whilst CAFBA had grown strongly over recent years we hadn’t as a board taken time out of our monthly meetings to take a helicopter view of the association. So what were the keys to success in coming up with the CAFBA strategic plan for the period 2017 to 2020? From my view it was: Determining early in the process who should be involved. In this regard this included both internal and external parties to the association, Preparation – Before the strategy session, feedback was obtained from a group of members (our customers) and external parties (our suppliers - for example Banks/Financiers) with key questions on their impression of CAFBA and what they saw “looking in” from the outside. This provided valuable feedback that was presented at the strategy session.. A SWOT (Strengths/Weaknesses/Opportunities and Treats) was completed and a PEST – (Political, Economic, Social, and Technological) that identified factors of the external environment...