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Home loans

Starting point: banks in Australia have behaved appallingly. The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission, ACCC, has been shown up as .. pick a negative adjective and it's probably been used. The ACCC, along with other regulators who have been shown up as wanting are now doing their best to prove they are "across it," as Australians say. Today, they say that they have produced a "final report" from their residential mortgage price inquiry. But.. has the ACCC now moved from ensuring good behaviour to managing how banks do business? It raises risk management questions, liquidity issues and even the stability of the housing market which has been in an accelerating downturn for a while and is showing all the signs of turning into a bit of a crisis.

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Mrs Shilpa Karandikar and Mr Shrikrishna Karandikar have pleaded guilty in a magistrates' court in Australia after breaching a banning order made following an ASIC investigation.

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Australia's ASIC has undertaken an extensive review of so-called "reverse mortgages" which are actual mortgages with potentially catastrophic long-tail results, which may be one of the things that borrowers did not understand. The findings of the review are startling.

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As if the crisis in retail isn't a sign that the global financial crisis, and the UK's part in it, isn't over, the news from manufacturing and other sectors of large-scale redundancies, non-renewal of contracts for term-staff and closures or restructuring of businesses in non-high street retail isn't enough, mailboxes are being spammed with one of the earliest signs of a financial crisis, threatening to ensure that recovery is a long way off. At the forefront is a spam promoting SAGA, the company that is supposedly the elderly's best friend.

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An indictment alleges accused "tricked homeowners into signing fraudulent deeds on their properties and then allegedly used the fraudulent deeds to extort money from homeowners, charge homeowners illegal fees to delay foreclosure and eviction actions and to steal some homes outright."

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BankWest, a division of Commonwealth Bank of Australia, failed to apply interest credits to offset accounts. It's having to make a big refund to thousands of customers.

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As Australian home-builder Collier Homes goes into liquidation, it's time to question, both in Australia and in other countries, whether purchasers should be required to make payments, beyond a reservation deposit, on new builds. Major reform is needed.

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The UK's Lloyds Banking Group took on a huge loan book when it took over the rapidly imploding HBOS group that included Halifax and Bank of Scotland. Halifax was the UK's largest mortgage lender. And now it's offering a helping hand to those who can afford to pay off their loans more quickly.

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