In Australia, the latest hearings of the royal commission inquiry see the spotlight moving to home loan practices, specifically 'liar loans' whereby brokers process applications with false or misleading information. The amount of these loans sits at some 500 billion Australian dollars ($394 billion) according to one UBS analyst. Representatives from National Australia Bank (NAB) are scheduled to provide evidence on the matter after some employees were found to have breached the financial institution's lending policy in 2017. Also under the spotlight will be Commonwealth Bank's Aussie Home Loans.
Grab, the Uber of Southeast Asia, is expanding its financial services as it looks to offer micro loans and insurance deals for its drivers and business users in partnership with Japanese lender Credit Saison. A rumoured move to buy out Uber in the region would pave the way for Grab's dominance and give it the space to double down on its fintech aspirations through GrabPay, which has already seen the company launch a mobile payments service. "Whether that's nano loans for working capital, the ability to buy a car...without financial services we're going to restrict the business growth of that whole ecosystem. That's the reason we're doing it", Jason Thompson, head of GrabPay, told TechCrunch.
The Banking Standards Board (BSB) has published a statement of principles for strengthening professionalism within the sector, containing six key points (ranging from protecting the interests of clients to building professionalism). The organisation's deputy chairman, Brendan Barber, argued in the Financial Times yesterday that professionalism can only be fortified by taking a "look at the attitudes, judgment and standards of behaviour, knowledge and skills of everyone who works in banking in whatever role."
In Nigeria, a prominent politician has criticised the high interest rates of lenders in the country, noting that they are creating a "poverty gap" and restricting the ability of entrepreneurs to realise business goals. The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, criticised banks for being inflexible and unwilling to help businesses grow, adding that the country is way behind some of its global peers. "What is it that we can do to lower the cost of funds in Nigeria so that our young men, women and entrepreneurs can risk taking money from our financial institutions in order to realise their dreams?" he said. "Unless you have assets or equipment, there is no way you can take loans or access loans from Nigerian banks to do...business."
Deutsche Bank may cut up to 6,000 jobs at retail banking business
Amex to woo retailers with biggest fee cut in 20 years (FT paywall)
UK: Barclays pays bosses £20m jackpot weeks after slumping to a loss
Of the banks mentioned above, NAB, CBA, Barclays and Deutsche were each given two stars in Lafferty's 2017 Benchmarking, while Amex was given three stars. The maximum possible is five stars.
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