September 2017 Edition
Welcome to the September 2017 edition of FCA Update. In this edition, we update you on some important consumer campaign wins and let you know about a new app, Penda, designed to help people affected by family violence. Everyone should download it.
Here at FCA we're really proud of short cartoon video explaining how CPD in our sector works - make sure you check it out.
QBE refunds $15.9 million
QBE Insurance (Australia) Ltd (QBE) will refund more than 35,000 add-on insurance customers up to $15.9 million they paid for insurance bought through car dealerships where the insurance provided little or no benefit.
Preparing for the New Payments Platform
A win in the fight against debt vultures
Good news in the fight to rein in for-profit debt management firms. On 31st August, 2017 Consumer Affairs Ministers from around Australia agreed to investigate including these firms in the financial services regulatory framework. This would prevent these companies—that many of us call debt vultures—charging excessively high fees, taking advantage of struggling Australians and failing to deliver services. In other words, they’d have to play by the same rules as everyone else.
This commitment is the result of a campaign driven by the Consumer Action Law Centre which successfully added debt management firms to the agenda of Consumer Affairs Ministers meeting on August 31st. (We know that many of you signed the petition—thanks!)
Issues with Nimble or Macquarie Leasing and Lumley Finance?
Have you come across issues with Nimble loans, or with Macquarie Leasing and Lumley Finance? We’d like to hear about them.
Stand together on social security cuts
‘Done with debt’: setting out alternatives to high-cost credit
‘Done with Debt’ is a new campaign from a Queensland community organisation called Youth and Family Services. The campaign calls out the high cost of consumer leases and payday loans.
Finally, gambling credit ban passes parliament
After two years of lobbying by financial counsellors and others, gambling companies will no longer be able to give people credit to gamble. New federal laws have just been passed. This credit ban will be enforceable by 16th February 2018.
Information about scams now available in multiple languages
Penda app goes live
Penda is a new app offering financial tips, legal information and referrals to women who have experienced family and domestic violence. It is easy to use, safe and free.
This app, developed by Women’s Legal Service Queensland (with the assistance of Kat Lane from the Financial Rights Legal Centre), includes information about things like safety, emergency money, financial hardship, utilities and bills. It also contains information about preparing to see a financial counsellor.
You can download Penda from the App Store or Google Play. It will be a really helpful resource for you and for any people you assist affected by family violence.
Extra peer-to-peer webinar added: register now
Financial counselling can be a tough job. We all know how challenging it can be dealing with clients who have experienced a traumatic event, are distressed, or are vulnerable in some way. Sometimes the frustrations and pain of our clients can spill over to us - the person trying to help. How do we look after ourselves?
Often we seek support by turning to the first person available - the colleague right next to us. And that's a good thing - to reach out and talk. But how do we do this in a way that is most productive?
There has been great feed back from is the webinars on ‘Peer2Peer debriefing for financial counsellors’ run The Workplace Mental Health Institute. Demand has been high, so we’ve added an extra one.
These webinars will give you a framework for informal debriefing in these situations - whether you're the one needing to talk, or the person who's assisting a colleague. I'm sure we've all been on both sides! The webinar also give you some simple strategies for looking after your own wellbeing in a high-pressure environment.
Date: October 9th
Everything you ever wanted to know about CPD
Do you have questions about CPD requirements? Have a look at this brief animated explainer telling you everything you ever needed to know. There is also a handy factsheet.
Rank the Banks 2017—coming soon
Our Victorian colleagues led the way with the first Rank the Banks report in 2012.
The report was ground breaking as for the first time it provided a collective view of what financial counsellors were seeing in relation bank hardship practices. Subsequent reports in 2013 and 2015 were conducted at a national level. There is no doubt that the series of Rank the Bank reports have contributed to better hardship practices and it has been really encouraging to see the banks respond in a constructive way.
Its now time for Rank the Banks 2017. The plan is to conduct the national survey around October with release of the report around late November. The strength of the report is in the response rate - the more people who contribute, the more confidence we have in the findings.
So watch your inboxes for a survey—coming soon.
After more than four years working for FCA, staff member Anna Dooland is returning to full-time financial counselling. She has a message for you.
Dear fellow financial counsellors,
Thanks so much for your patience with technology and feedback on policy issues during my time working at FCA. I’ve really enjoyed developing the Toolkit and assisting you with technology-related issues. More recently, I’ve enjoyed putting my toe in the water with policy work and systemic advocacy.
However, as much as I love the ‘big picture’ stuff, I miss all my clients! After some long, hard thought, I’ve decided to go back to full-time financial counselling. My last day at FCA is September 21st.
I’ll miss the hard-working, lovely people at FCA so much—and I hope the organisation continues to grow!