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Archive for category: ONYX Finance

Finances on your mind?  We are here to help
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Finances on your mind? We are here to help

If you are finding it tough to meet your current financial obligations or you are just interested in reviewing your current home loan, then you are not alone.  Onyx Finance stand ready and able to assist with your options during this difficult time.

Turbulent does not even begin to describe 2020 so far.  As a result of COVID-19 and not forgetting the bushfires, thousands of Australians are out of work, with Treasury predicting that the jobless rate will double in the June quarter from 5.1 per cent to 10 per cent.  Many others have had their hours reduced or have been temporarily stood down.

In this period of uncertainty, at the very least many will be taking a closer look at their finances to make sure their current loan arrangements are right for them.  We have the experience and knowledge to assist in a variety of situations and are simply an email or phone call away.  We are in regular contact with our lender panel and make it our business to understand the different options lenders currently offer.

And while the options can seem straight forward, it is easy to miss the details and differences that can add up, particularly over a 30-year term.  For example, a number of banks are offering to temporarily freeze mortgage repayments for three or six months.  While this may seem like a good option, it is important to fully understand the implications.  This could mean that the total debt will increase.  Of course, depending on an individual’s circumstances, there may be a number of available alternatives that may reduce repayments while not increasing your interest bill as much in the long term.

Refinancing too may be on the minds of many as a result of the Reserve Bank cutting rates and banks passing them on, to varying degrees, as well as access to a range of competitive fixed interest rate options on the market.  A discussion with us may be just the ticket.

While a simplistic view of what constitutes a great mortgage is the one with the lowest interest rate, mortgage brokers know that what suits one person might not necessarily suit another.  For instance, fixed interest rates can offer piece of mind as interest rates increase, but they can be the cause of anxiety if rates fall or if unforeseen circumstances require a change.

No matter what your circumstances are, Onyx Finance can actively assist you in navigating your current situation.  So, if you’ve been thinking about reassessing your finances and are not in contact with us, do yourself (and your cashflow) a favour and call us now!

Urgent Information for QLD Property Investors
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Urgent Information for QLD Property Investors

To all owners of an investment property in Queensland, if you are not already aware of the Palaszczuk Government’s proposed Special COVID-19 Protections for residential tenants and landlords, we outline it for you here.

While we support the need for tenant protection during COVID-19 however, we are fundamentally opposed to some of the proposed measures.  You should be too!

As a landlord, you will ultimately foot the bill if the following proposals are introduced:

· Your tenant/s will NOT have to pay back any rent. Put simply, a rent reduction negotiated with your tenant/s is a permanent rent waiver meaning you, as the landlord, will be out of pocket, with no means of recovering any unpaid rent in the future post COVID-19.

· You CANNOT ask your tenant/s for any proof of financial hardship.  Your tenant/s can request reduced rent due to COVID-19 without any proof.  This potentially exposes you to false claims and exploitation of the proposed protections for those who genuinely need it.

· Your Landlord Insurance will NOT cover you for rent in arrears*.  The normal terms of your policy won’t cover the rent reduction as this is a mutual agreement between you, as the landlord, and your tenant and you cannot follow the necessary rent default process as this is prohibited. (*Please contact your relevant insurer for individual policy conditions)

· Your tenancy agreement WILL immediately extend by 6 months if it expires during the 6 month freeze on evictions.  Tenants will be automatically entitled to a 6-month extension of the tenancy agreement meaning any protections may last up to 12-months.

· Your tenant/s can REFUSE ENTRY for anything other than emergency repairs.  Not only can your tenant refuse access, they don’t have participate in virtual property inspections either.  There’s also no clarity as to whether prospective purchasers can inspect a property that is for sale.

· Your tenant/s can BREAK A LEASE with only 7 days’ notice.  To make matters worse, you cannot recover any lost rent or costs associated with finding a new tenant as would normally apply.

Now you understand how the Palaszczuk Government’s proposed Special COVID-19 Protections favour tenants at the expense of landlords.

Your urgent help is required before Parliament sits to pass these protections on Wednesday, 22 April 2020.  For our voices to be heard, complete your details in the landlord template letter to Premier Palaszczuk provided by heading to this website https://www.reiq.com/everyonematters/?utm_campaign=MessagefromAM-14April2020-ProtectQueensland&utm_medium=email&utm_source=autopilot and clicking on landlord template letter.  Once completed email this through to thepremier@premiers.qld.gov.au.

ABA confirms its approach to credit ratings
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ABA confirms its approach to credit ratings

The Australian Banking Association (ABA) has made official its approach to credit reporting through the COVID-19 crisis, with the primary driver of its decision being alleviating stress for Australian customers.

Borrowers who are granted a six-month deferral on loan repayments will not have their credit rating affected as a result of the holiday, so long as they were up to date with repayments prior to the economic impact of COVID-19.

“If a customer is granted a deferral on their mortgage and other credit products because of COVID-19, banks will report customers as not having missed a repayment, provided they were all up to date when granted relief,” explained ABA CEO Anna Bligh.

“Australia’s banks are here to support customers who have lost their jobs or significantly lost income because of COVID-19.  Customers in these circumstances should not have to worry about their credit rating as well.”

The approach for customers who were already behind on their repayments before being granted a COVID-19 deferral has yet to be decided.  Banks will simply not report the repayment history information for the duration of the deferral period through leaving that field blank; once the deferral has ended, the institution will determine how to report for those customers retroactively.

“There may be other factors which can affect a customer’s credit rating, but customers accepting a COVID-19 loan repayment deferral can rest easy that the deferral will not be one of them,” said Bligh.

The Financial Rights Centre has “warmly welcomed” the ABA announcement.

CEO Karen Cox said, “People calling our advice services have so much to contend with right now: the stress of not being able to pay their bills, fears for their own health, and fears for loved ones.  They should not have to worry about their ability to access credit when this is all over.

“We warmly welcome the ABA’s announcement that their customer’s credit reports will be quarantined from the impact of this crisis and we call on the rest of the finance industry to follow suit.”

Economic Response to the Coronavirus
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Economic Response to the Coronavirus

Support for individuals and households    
       
Income support for individuals
The Government is temporarily expanding eligibility to income support payments and establishing a new, time-limited Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight. This would be paid to both existing and new recipients of the eligible payment categories.*
*Note, this does not include changes to the partner income test
  When
From 27 April 2020
         
Payments to support households
Provide two rounds of $750 payments to those eligible.
  When
First round from 31 March 2020, second round from 13 July 2020
       
Temporary early release of superannuation
Enable individuals and sole traders directly impacted by the economic consequences of the Coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation, tax-free, in 2019-20, and up to a further $10,000 in 2020-21.  No tax will be imposed on withdrawals.
  When
Applications from April 2020
       
Temporarily reduce superannuation minimum drawdown rates
Reduce the superannuation minimum drawdown rates by 50 per cent for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 income year.
  When
Immediately
       
Lower the social security deeming rates
Lower the social security deeming rates in response to the low interest rate environment.
  When
From 1 May 2020
   
   
Support for businesses    
       
JobKeeper Payment
A significant wage subsidy program to support employees and businesses through the Coronavirus outbreak. Eligible businesses will receive $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee for a maximum of 26 weeks.
  When
Register interest from 30 March, initial payments received first week of May 2020. Register here
       
Boosting Cash Flow for Employers
Enhance the previously announced Boosting Cash Flow for Employers by extending access to not-for-profits, including charities; increasing the maximum total payments to $100,000; increasing the rate of the payment, increasing minimum total payments to $20,000.
  When
Payments from 28 April 2020, additional payments from 21 July 2020
       
Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses
Help businesses get through a temporary period of insolvency, by temporarily providing higher thresholds and more time to respond to demands from creditors and providing temporary relief from directors’ personal insolvent trading liability
   
       
Increasing the instant asset write-off
Lifting the threshold to $150,000 (from $30,000) — and making more businesses eligible to use it up to a turnover of $500 million.
  When
Immediately, with deductions to be included in 2019-20 tax returns
       
Backing business investment
Offering businesses a time-limited incentive to invest, by accelerating depreciation deductions.
  When
Immediately, with deductions to be included in 2019-20 tax returns
       
Supporting apprentices and trainees
Wage assistance to help small businesses to keep their apprentices and trainees.
  When
Applications open from early April 2020
       
Support for Coronavirus affected regions and communities
Financial support to help regions and communities most affected by the Coronavirus to recover.
  When
As soon as practicable
       
Support for Australian airlines and airports
Provide initial support to our airline industry through up to $715 million of relief from a range of taxes and Government charges.
  When
1 February 2020 to 30 September 2020
       
VICTORIA ONLY – Business Support Fund
The Victorian State Government has announced a $500 million Business Support Fund to help small businesses survive the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and keep people in work. Eligible businesses can apply for a one-off $10,000 grant which can be used towards costs such as utilities, rent and salaries, and activities to support business continuity planning.
  When
Applications now open and close on Monday 1 June 2020. Apply here
   
   
Supporting the flow of credit    
       
Government support for immediate cash flow needs of SMEs
Establish a loan guarantee arrangement between the Government and participating banks to cover the immediate cash flow needs of SMEs
  When
Commence by early April 2020 and be available for new loans until 30 September 2020
       
Australian Office of Financial Management Support
Provided the Australian Office of Financial Management with an investment capacity of $15 billion to invest in structured finance markets used by smaller lenders
   
       
Reserve Bank of Australia Support
A package of RBA measures to support the Australian economy.
   
Who Gets It?
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Who Gets It?

The Federal Government has committed to assist 10,000 First Home Buyers into the market by topping up their 5% deposits with a government guarantee for 15% of the loan.

However, based on the $500 million in equity the government has set aside, only 1 in 11 buyers will be able to enjoy the benefits of the scheme.

The scheme will remove the need for borrowers to pay Lender’s Mortgage Insurance, saving up to $27,000.

We suggest if you or someone close to you are buying their first home next year, you start planning now.

Single borrowers earning up to $120,000 or couples earning up to $200,000 will be eligible for the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme if they have saved 5% of the value of the property they are seeking to purchase.

Here are a few tips to help you on your way:

  • Although the scheme does not start until next year, start planning now to give yourself a chance to be the 1 in 11 who will receive support.
  • If you haven’t already, do a budget – click here to access a budget planner
  • Start managing your discretionary spending today as lenders are checking borrower’s living expenses closely.
  • Be aware of other benefits on offer including grants and stamp duty exemptions by visiting the State Revenue Office in your state or calling us on 1300 1400 15.
  • In some cases, the rent you are paying now will be included in the credit analysis to support your ability to meet loan repayments, so ask us to start checking on a suitable lender for you.
  • Get pre-approved so you know how much you have to spend.  We provide this without cost and it provides you piece of mind when you start looking.
  • Cautionary note: We calculate that if you only contribute 5% deposit rather than 20% on a $500,000 property you will pay nearly $60,000 extra in interest over the life of the loan.  The solution is, in this low interest rate environment, to pay at least 10% more than the Principal and Interest repayment the lender requires.

It is important to know that there are several other ways you can get into your first home with a low deposit and not pay Lender’s Mortgage Insurance so call me anytime for a quick chat on 0409 02 99 22.

Good luck with finding your first home it is a very exciting time.

Most Australian borrowers don’t know the score.
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Most Australian borrowers don’t know the score.

A recent survey indicated that most borrowers are in the dark about the credit scoring system lenders use.

More than ever it is important that you spend a few minutes to find out what a lender finds out about you when you apply for credit.

You can quickly check your credit score for free at www.getcreditscore.com.au and for more detailed credit report go to www.mycreditfile.com.au.

It is also important that you understand the impact of Comprehensive Credit Reporting (CCR).

Positive (Comprehensive) Credit Reporting (CCR) was mandated by the Australian government from 1 July 2018, giving lenders access to a deeper, richer set of data enabling them to better assess a borrower’s true credit position and their ability to pay a loan.  Because of this measure it may mean you see a change in your credit score within the coming months.  Why?  Read below for a further insight into what this means for you, how it might benefit you, as well as what it means for the financial market.

So what is Comprehensive Credit Reporting (CCR)?

Right now if you were to check your credit report it, for the most part, will consist of negative information (defaults, bankruptcies etc).  CCR will introduce more data on your credit report as the regime will allow credit providers (banks & lenders) to share more of your data with a credit bureau (i.e Equifax).  Ultimately, this will provide a more complete picture of your situation, allowing credit providers to better match the credit you applied for to your circumstances.  In February 2018, NAB were the first major bank to start participating in CCR in a phased roll out. From 1 July 2018 the big four banks were required to share 50% of your credit data (they can choose which data to share) within 90 days with credit bureaus and by 1 July 2019 this increased to 100%.

Why should you be aware of CCR?

It’s important that you’re aware of these changes as they affect what’s shown on your credit report and what information can be accessed by credit providers about your credit history.  Ultimately you may see a change in your credit score as this additional information is added to your credit report (your credit score is generated based on the information in your credit report).  These changes are designed to deliver better outcomes for customers as it will increase competition throughout the financial market.

So what additional information will be added to my credit report?

Comprehensive Credit Reporting will introduce more data that reflects positive credit behaviour.  For example, more information will be available on your payment behaviour, making it easier for credit providers (i.e banks & lenders) to better match the credit you applied for to your needs & circumstances.  This will mean your credit report may show the following information on accounts like credit cards, home loans and personal loans:

  • Credit account history:
    • Type of credit account (credit card, personal loan etc)
    • Date the credit account was opened
    • Current credit limit
    • Account closed date
  • Repayment history: your loan repayment history over a period of 2 years (24 months) including any late or defaulted repayments you may have received and the date you paid the default in full.


How might this benefit you?

As more CCR information is available to be shared by lenders, it can ultimately drive market competition and result in lenders offering a better deal based on your unique credit circumstances.  In short you could be rewarded for a good credit score with a lower interest rate.  Some of our lenders already do this in the market, i.e. tailoring their personal loan rates to your unique score, take a look for yourself here.  Your credit score may also change (in a good way) as the additional data (i.e. showing that you’re paying your bills on time) may positively influence it.

While these changes are still taking place in the Australian financial market, it is not an entirely new concept.  CCR is already common practice in the United States and the United Kingdom, we are simply catching up.

Is there anything I need to do?

No.  The changes will take some time as credit providers that are allowed to use CCR, may adopt it at different times.

Do you have a Depreciation Schedule? Make sure you’re not missing out.
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Do you have a Depreciation Schedule? Make sure you’re not missing out.

With tax time rolling around, I was staggered to be informed by Bradley Beer at BMT Tax Depreciation that only 20% of property investors bother to get a Depreciation Schedule.

Obviously this means that 80% do not. This is just plain crazy!

Why leave your hard-earned in the taxman’s pocket? Even if you use an accountant, make their job easier by providing a schedule for every property.

Click here for Brad’s latest article.

Don’t forget to mention Onyx for a discount.

Also, you might be interested in a webinar BMT are running. Click here for more information.

As always, if I can assist with any finance-related issue, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly on 0409 02 99 22 or email me at greg.clough@onyx.net.au

Greg Clough

New PICA analysis demonstrates property investors are generous contributors to government coffers
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New PICA analysis demonstrates property investors are generous contributors to government coffers

New analysis by the Property Investors Council of Australian (PICA) has detailed how much tax typical property investors pay to government under current negative gearing and Capital Gains Tax (CGT) rules.

PICA chairman Ben Kingsley said the council’s modelling showed an average Mum and Dad investor was adding hundreds of thousands of dollars to the public purse over the lifetime of a single investment property.

“The amount of federal taxes property investors pay is extraordinary and will surprise many – and that’s before state-based stamp duty and land tax costs are included, adding tens of thousands of dollars more to the bill,” Mr Kingsley said.

“Our numbers show while a typical Australian investor will benefit from negative gearing initially, they will be taxed around $167,000 in subsequent years over the full 30 years of modelling.

“It is clear that property investors do pay well above their fair share in taxes and our concern is that impost on investors is set to blow out even further if Labor’s policies see the light of day.”

Mr Kingsley said investors have been unfairly targeted throughout Labor’s and the Green’s election campaigns.

“With the majority of the nation’s 2.2 million property investors earning less than $80,000 a year, Labor’s claim about tax loopholes being for the big end of town are, frankly, insulting,” he said.

Mr Kingsley said political attacks via increased taxation on investors looking to self-fund their retirement would have far reaching economic ramifications for all Australians. It could force investors out of the market, reduce demand for property and weaken the market.

Mr Kingsley says this data proves Australian property investors contribute their fair share when it comes to government taxes.

Please see the attached media release and detailed analysis for further information. 

ANALYSIS – (PICA) – What Investors Pay Modelling Analysis

MEDIA RELEASE (PICA) Modelling shows investors pay hundreds of thousands in taxes

 

Be Prepared
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Be Prepared

On a positive note, despite reports of up to 25% of loans not being approved today that would have been approved 12 months ago, at Onyx we are having far more success than that.

Here are seven quick tips about being prepared for the more stringent lending environment that we are now experiencing:

1.     Allow extra time – loan applications and supporting documents are being more closely scrutinised, so don’t leave your application until the last minute.

2.     Get pre-approved – if you are purchasing, arrange a pre-approval so you can search confidently for a property and perhaps have an edge when negotiating.

3.     Be prudent with discretionary spending well in advance – lenders are looking at statements line by line, so making sacrifices for a few months will be rewarded.

4.     Know that you are going to be asked for more stuff – as an example, some lenders are now asking for statements for all credit facilities, even if they are not being re-financed.

5.     Don’t use ATMs at gaming venues – unfortunately, you may be judged.

6.     Be accurate with your cost of living – lenders are dynamite on this issue, so keep accurate records of all your living expenses.

7.     Don’t shoot the messenger – we do our very best to absorb as much stress as we can, however “they who have the money have the power.” Remember – if you have loans that settled longer than 2 years ago you are probably paying too much!

If have any questions or would like me to elaborate or clarify any of the above, or maybe just have a general chat, please feel free to call me at any time on 0409 02 99 22.

Don’t Kill Competition
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Don’t Kill Competition

No doubt you haven’t missed the news about the findings and recommendations of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in Banking.

The Royal Commission has resulted in the banks being slapped with a wet lettuce despite all the corruption uncovered meanwhile every Australian home loan borrower will pay more if the recommendations relating to “fee for service” are legislated.

Watch my video for my take on what the ramifications of these flawed recommendations are.

Please feel free to call me if you have any questions or if I can assist you in any way.

Industry Defence Campaign

The Mortgage & Finance Association of Australia has launched a defence of the mortgage broking industry, with a national campaign – Don’t Kill Competition – designed to show consumers and politicians what a world without mortgage brokers would look like.

The campaign comprises advertising across newspapers, radio, outdoor (billboards), television and digital platforms and is designed to demonstrate that banning commissions would be a great outcome for large lenders with branch networks, but a terrible outcome for everyday Australians.

The campaign kicks off with full-page advertisements in national newspapers (the Australian Financial Review and The Australian), before leading into television and the other outlets over the weekend. It also features a microsite at www.brokerbehindyou.com.au which has the relevant facts and content for you to share and promote, including pre-populated letters for both brokers and consumers to send to their local MP to show their support – the website will automatically populate an email to your local Federal MP, based on your postcode.

What can you do?

I’m calling on you to support the cause by making your voice heard as a current or future home loan borrower.

1. Take action with your local politician: Contact your Federal MP and let them know how you feel, by going to www.brokerbehindyou.com.au, clicking the link and sending the pre-populated letter to your local MP. This will take you less than one minute and has a significant impact.

2. Get others involved: Talk to your family, friends and your customers and ask them to go to the site and contact their Federal MP as well – there is a separate letter of support designed for consumers to send.

3. Sign and share the petition: There is a petition available at www.brokerbehindyou.com.au – please sign and share the petition to ensure policy makers understand the weight of support behind the channel.

4. Share the campaign: Additional campaign advertising collateral will be made available on the website for you to share and promote on your social media platforms daily over the next week and beyond.

Now, more than ever, we must unite as an industry and remind our politicians and policy makers that mortgage brokers are vital for healthy competition in the home lending market, are highly valued by their customers and are out there, every day, driving great outcomes for Australians.

… and for a lighter take on the situation …