Australia to ease ‘overly prescriptive’ bank lending rules

3 hours ago.
Australia intends to make it easier for banks to approve mortgages and small-business loans in an attempt to remove unnecessary barriers to credit and boost the economy, the country’s treasurer said Friday, a move lauded by the largest banks in the commonwealth.

Westpac to pay record AUD 1.3B penalty over money laundering scandal

September 24, 2020.
Westpac Banking has agreed to pay a record penalty of AUD 1.3 billion ($918.25 million) to settle an anti-money laundering lawsuit brought by Australian regulators, admitting that it did not properly oversee customers linked to potential child exploitation and failed to report millions of transfer instructions.

Munich Re, CoreLogic partner to analyze Australia, New Zealand climate risk

September 24, 2020.
Munich Re, the world’s second largest reinsurer, and analytics firm CoreLogic will work together to assess climate risk for properties in Australia and New Zealand, as Australia recovers from catastrophic bushfires and hailstorms.

Banks in US, Europe, Japan will not recover to pre-pandemic strength until 2023: S&P

September 24, 2020.
Banks in the U.S., Europe and parts of Asia will not return to pre-pandemic levels of credit strength until 2023, S&P ratings said Wednesday, warning the sector may take years to recover after the launch of a successful vaccine.

Westpac makes board changes amid rumored anti-money laundering deal talks

September 23, 2020.
Westpac Banking said Wednesday that its board is undergoing a pair of director changes, a move disclosed as the bank is reportedly in talks to settle anti-money laundering litigation brought by an Australian regulator.

Former HSBC executive joins UK fintech Thought Machine

September 23, 2020.
Former HSBC Chief Operating Officer Andy Maguire has joined cloud banking technology company Thought Machine as chair of the company’s board, the London-based startup said Wednesday, following the company’s $125 million Series B funding round.

Fund managers must correct misleading labels, Australian regulator says

September 22, 2020.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission told 13 fund managers that they had to make changes to their funds’ marketing, which the regulator said could leave already vulnerable investors at risk of unanticipated losses.

IAG names insider as new CEO

September 21, 2020.
Insurance Australia Group, the largest general insurance provider in Australia and New Zealand, on Monday named longtime company executive Nick Hawkins as its new managing director and CEO to succeed its retiring chief.

Westpac nabs new CEO of consumer division from Dubai-based firm

September 21, 2020.
The Westpac Group said on Monday that it hired Chris de Bruin as CEO of the Australian bank’s consumer division, set to start in early 2021 to oversee the retail banking and consumer finance services.

NAB transitions business banking platform to Amazon cloud service

September 18, 2020.
National Australia Bank successfully moved its NAB Connect business banking platform to Amazon Web Services, giving some 70,000 customers access to new features in the process.

Fintech Affirm raises $500M in funding round led by Singaporean wealth fund

September 17, 2020.
Point-of-sale loan fintech Affirm raised $500 million in a Series G funding round led by Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC, a longtime backer, and Durable Capital Partners, the firm said Thursday.

Australia’s central bank not pursuing a digital currency

September 17, 2020.
The Reserve Bank of Australia is not currently considering the issuance of a central bank digital currency, its payments policy department said Thursday, bucking the trend of most other central banks around the world.

AMP advisors call for government investigation into firm, Australian newspapers report

September 16, 2020.
A group of current and former AMP financial advisors sent a letter to members of the Parliament of Australia asking the government to open an investigation into the beleaguered wealth management firm over allegations of fraud and deception, according to a report from Australian newspapers.

Australia’s central bank promises to keep credit costs low amid COVID-19 turmoil

September 15, 2020.
Australia’s central bank said it would “maintain highly accommodative settings as long as required” in order to support the nation’s recovery from the coronavirus-related economic downturn.

BNP Paribas unit partners with fintech Digital Asset on real-time trade, settlement apps

September 15, 2020.
BNP Paribas’ investment management arm has partnered with capital markets fintech Digital Asset to design trade and settlement apps which can be integrated with exchanges transitioning to blockchain technology.

Klarna becomes highest-valued fintech in Europe after $650 million funding round

Last modified September 15, 2020. Published September 15, 2020.
Klarna Bank, a Stockholm-based online payments and shopping service, says that it has become the highest-valued fintech in Europe at a post-money valuation of $10.65 million after raising $650 million in an equity funding round.

UK court win for business interruption policyholders puts insurers on notice

Last modified September 15, 2020. Published September 15, 2020.
Insurers are expected to appeal the U.K. High Court’s ruling in a high-profile test case brought by the country’s financial regulator, but policyholder advocates largely declared victory after several wordings were found to trigger coverage for COVID-19 business interruption losses, affecting 370,000 policyholders and establishing a marker for the industry.

Macquarie anticipates 35% hit to H1 earnings due to COVID-19

September 14, 2020.
Macquarie Group said on Monday that it currently expects earnings to plummet around 35% for the first half of its financial year, which ends Sept. 30, blaming the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainties surrounding the global economic recovery.

UBS, Credit Suisse exploring merger, Swiss finance blog reports

September 14, 2020.
Switzerland’s two largest banks are considering joining forces to create one of Europe’s largest banks, according to a report from Swiss finance blog Inside Paradeplatz, as the financial industry looks for ways to shore itself up for a post-pandemic world.

NAB hit with AUD 57.5M fine in ‘fee for no service’ case

September 11, 2020.
The Federal Court of Australia has assessed an AUD 57.5 million ($41.4 million) penalty against National Australia Bank in a “fee for no service” case that is part of an industry-wide scandal in the country over fees charged for financial advice that was not actually provided.