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The Westpac Bank In Australia And Bank Of America In USA .

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Question:

What was the purpose of the intervention and who was involved?
 
When and where was it undertaken and has the position now rectified? 
 
 

Answer:

Introduction

Westpac’s structure of operations aligns with their major segments of the customer. Under their structure, they retains unique portfolio for the brands like Westpac, RAMS, Bank SA, Bank of Melbourne and St. George. The major divisions of Westpac bank are the business bank, consumer bank, Westpac New Zealand, BT Financial Group Australia and Westpac Institutional Bank and the various divisions are core support division, treasury, group technology and business and customer services ((Westpac.com.au 2017).

On the other hand, Bank of America is a multinational financial and banking service corporation that has its headquarter in Charlotte of North America. They offer their services and products through 4600 financial sectors, 15,900 ATMs, mobile banking, online and call centres platform. Bank of America always involved themselves in various lawsuits and the investigations associated with the financial disclosures and mortgage issues (Bankofamerica.com 2017).

1.

16-106 MR Westpac car financiers pays $493,000 for breaching consumer protection repossession laws

Capital finance is the holder of Australian licence for credit that provides the customers finance for purchase of vehicles. Capital finance Australia limited is a subsidiary of the Westpac Banking Corporation that has paid penalties amounted to $ 493,000 after ASIC detected that the company is involved with breaching the customer under the National Consumer Credit Protection Act (NCA) in regard with the motor vehicle repossession. When the customers failed to meet the obligations related to repayment of their loan, the NCA required the lender to send a written notice for default that shall include the particular information regarding what they were thinking about their next steps, what are their remedy for the default and the obligations and rights of the customer (Erbenova et al. 2016).

ASIC found that between March to June 2015, capital finance of Westpac:

  • Failed to provide the customers default notices in 55 instances prior to starting the proceedings for enforcement for repossessing the vehicles under mortgage
  • On three instances, they did not even provided they customers the required legal information explaining their rights and various options available to them under the required time period after repossession of the vehicles under mortgage (Rajapakse and Gardner 2014).

Owing to the above, the consumers were not informed regarding their protection and legal rights when they were endangered of repossession of their car. As per the Deputy Chairman of ASIC, Peter Kell, the credit providers are responsible for providing the customers with necessary information who are having difficulties in repayments as repossession of car has great impact on the consumers and the financiers are responsible for providing key information. The chief Executive of Westpac, Mr. Frazis held responsible for attending the court for hearing of the case. However, capital finance already started contacting the affected customers. And they provided the number for contacting that is 1300 300 309, if any customer think that they may get affected by above mentioned conduct (Palmer 2014).

 

2.

US seeks $2.1 billion from Bank of America in mortgage fraud case

The government of US demanded an amount of $ 1.2 billion from Bank of America as the bank was found to be involved in the fraud associated with the defective mortgages sold through the countrywide unit. The government claimed that the program of Countrywide highlighted and rewarded the employees for the quantity of loan issued, rather than the quality of loan and removed the designed checklist for ensuring that the provided loans were sound. Evidence shows that Countrywide earned $ 165.20 million through selling the loans to the consumers (Urban 2015). The government asked the judge to calculate the maximum amount for charging the penalty to punish the defendants for their bad faith and culpability and teach a lesson to the executives and institutions who will engage in similar kind of fraudulent scheme of mortgage. Initially the amount of penalty was just $ 863.6 million that were calculated based on the gross losses. The new request for $ 2.1 billion was calculated based on the absence from the hearing by the executives of Bank of America. However, the Bank of America spokesperson, Lawrence Grayson told that the claim was not related to the limited programme of Countrywide that lasted for several months and ended even before the acquisition of Countrywide by Bank of America (Zingales 2015).

A federal jury from New York during October found that the Bank of America and the former mid-level executive Rebecca Mairone at Countrywide were liable for the fraud in civil lawsuit. Bank of America stared scheduling to respond the motion of the government on February 26, 2014 and the oral argument scheduled on March 13, 2017

The outcome of both the cases was properly intervened by the court and both the banks that is, Westpac bank and Bank of America has taken steps to communicate with their customers those are involves in the cases (Fligstein and Roehrkasse 2016). 

Conclusion

The Westpac breach case in Australia lead to important aspect for the procedure of loan assessment in combination with the customer understands. Specifically, the mortgages under the interest-only segment were started to get assessed in the same manner as per the interest loan and standard principle. Moreover, the customers were started getting protection under the National Credit Act that stipulated that the providers of credit must carry out reasonable inquiries regarding the financial situation of the borrower and evaluate if the contract of the loan is suitable or not. On the other hand, the mortgage case of Bank of America led to strict regulation for issuing the of mortgage loan. The quality of loan is given more importance as compared to the quantity of loan. As in the case of Bank of America, where the staffs were getting paid for the quantity of loans issued, rather that the quality of loan, now more importance are given for the quality and the credibility of the borrower are assessed carefully to evaluate that whether the borrower is eligible to get the loan and make the repayment or not.

 

References:

Bankofamerica.com. (2017). Bank of America — Banking, Credit Cards, Mortgages and Auto Loans. [online] Available at: https://www.bankofamerica.com/ [Accessed 24 Apr. 2017].

Erbenova, M.M., Liu, M.Y., Kyriakos-Saad, M.N., Mejia, A.L., Gasha, J.G., Mathias, M.E., Norat, M.M., Fernando, M.F. and Almeida, M.Y., 2016. The withdrawal of correspondent banking relationships: a case for policy action. International Monetary Fund.

Fligstein, N. and Roehrkasse, A.F., 2016. The Causes of Fraud in the Financial Crisis of 2007 to 2009: Evidence from the Mortgage-Backed Securities Industry. American Sociological Review, 81(4), pp.617-643.

Palmer, A., 2014. A critique of the counter economic crime regime in the United Kingdom, with reference to the United States of America and Australia (Doctoral dissertation, University of the West of England).

Rajapakse, P. and Gardner, J., 2014. The Unconscionable Conduct and Consumer Protection in Subprime Lending in Australia. Banking & Finance Law Review, 29(3), p.485.

Urban, P.V., 2015. There Goes The Neighborhood: Florida's Crackdown On Adverse Possession In The Wake Of The Foreclosure Crisis.

Westpac.com.au. (2017). Westpac - Personal, Business and Corporate Banking. [online] Available at: https://www.westpac.com.au/ [Accessed 24 Apr. 2017].

Zingales, L., 2015. Presidential address: Does finance benefit society?. The Journal of Finance, 70(4), pp.1327-1363.

 
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