SECTOR ARTICLES OF INTEREST - 8 October

Written on the 8 October 2020 by SAFCA

  • Financial Counselling Foundation - $4 million in Grants for Domestic Family Violence Financial Counselling
  • ASIC commences proceedings against Cigno and BHF Solutions over unlicensed credit activity
  • No to Violence ANROWS Survey on Technology-Facilitated Abuse
  • ASIC - Financial Capability Network 
  • FCA Board - Nominations are now open for two elected financial counsellor directors Nominations Close Monday 19th October 2020


Financial Counselling Foundation - $4 million in Grants for Domestic Family Violence Financial Counselling

The Financial Counselling Foundation has just announced a grant of $100,000 to the Zahra Foundation, to provide financial counselling to women impacted by Domestic Family Violence (DFV) for the next two years.

The grant follows the funding earlier this year of 10 full-time specialist DFV financial counsellor positions for three years around Australia. This brings the total grants for this purpose to over $4 million.

There was a funding gap in specialist DFV financial counselling services outside Victoria, where the Victorian Government funded 21 positions following the 2015 Royal Commission into Family Violence.

Kae Martin, Interim Director of the Zahra Foundation said, "80 percent of our budget is received through fund raising but this year due to the South Australian bushfires and COVID-19, our usual fundraising activities have been curtailed.

"This grant will ensure we can continue to support women affected by domestic violence, who need financial counselling."

Jane Nash, CEO of the Financial Counselling Foundation said, "Financial counselling is an essential support to those impacted by domestic violence. With the prevalence of domestic violence increasing following lockdown measures and a rise in unemployment, it is important to ensure access for people who need it."

The organisations that have received a grant for a specialist DFV financial counsellor in mid-2020 are:

  • Women's Legal Service NSW
  • South West Sydney Legal Centre
  • Care Financial Counselling Service
  • Women's Legal Service Queensland
  • Central Australian Women's Legal Service
  • Lutheran Community Care NT
  • Women's Legal Service WA
  • Jacaranda Community Centre
  • Women's Legal Service SA
  • Women's Legal Service Tasmania

Up to 95 percent of the clients at women's legal services experience DFV. By adding DFV financial counselling to the services that are already available, as well as to organisations in WA and NT with predominantly First Nations clients, financial counselling will be more accessible to women impacted by DFV.

Funding is from the Foundation and a donation from ANZ Bank of $250,000.

About the Financial Counselling Foundation

The Financial Counselling Foundation is a charitable trust established in December 2017, to increase access to free and independent financial counselling for people with money and debt problems. This was in response to chronic underfunding of financial counselling relative to demand.

About the Zahra Foundation

The Zahra Foundation is in Adelaide. Named in memory of Zahra Abrahimzedeh who was killed by her abusive husband at the Adelaide Convention Centre in 2010, it was established collaboratively by Zahra's children and Women's Safety Services SA.



ASIC commences proceedings against Cigno and BHF Solutions over unlicensed credit activity

ASIC has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against Cigno Pty Ltd (Cigno) and BHF Solutions Pty Ltd (BHF Solutions) for alleged contraventions of the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (National Credit Act).

BHF Solutions and Cigno operate a lending model that provides small amounts of credit to a large number of consumers and charges substantial fees on the amounts borrowed. Neither BHF Solutions nor Cigno holds, or has ever held, an Australian credit licence as required by the National Credit Act.

ASIC alleges that between 18 October 2019 and 31 March 2020:

BHF Solutions contravened section 29 of the National Credit Act by engaging in credit activity without holding an Australian credit licence by entering into credit contracts with three borrowers and carrying on a business of providing credit; and

Cigno contravened section 29 of the National Credit Act by engaging in credit activities without an Australian credit licence by performing obligations and exercising rights of BHF Solutions in relation to BHF Solutions' credit contracts with the three borrowers and providing a credit service to the borrowers.

The National Credit Act requires firms who engage in specified credit activities to be licensed or authorised. The National Credit Act and National Credit Code impose important obligations on firms that provide protections for consumers including disclosure requirements, a cap on fees and interest rates and access to hardship and free and independent external dispute resolution services.

ASIC is seeking:

declarations of contravention of section 29 of the National Credit Act by both BHF Solutions and Cigno;

permanent and interim injunctions under section 177 of the Act restraining BHF Solutions from engaging in the credit activities of being a credit provider under a credit contract and carrying on a business of providing credit; and
permanent and interim injunctions under section 177 of the Act restraining Cigno from engaging in the credit activities of providing a credit service and performing the obligations, or exercising the rights, of a credit provider in relation to a credit contract or proposed credit contract.
The proceeding will be listed for directions on a date to be determined by the Court.

https://asic.gov.au/about-asic/news-centre/find-a-media-release/2020-releases/20-226mr-asic-commences-proceedings-against-cigno-and-bhf-solutions-over-unlicensed-credit-activity/



No to Violence ANROWS Survey on Technology-Facilitated Abuse

The Australian National Research Organisation for Women's Safety (ANROWS) is recruiting workers to complete a 20-minute anonymous online survey that aims to leverage the practice-based knowledge of people working in the sector to find out more about technology-facilitated abuse.

This survey is for service providers that work with people who experience or use violence, including domestic violence or sexual assault services, legal services, homelessness/housing, health, men's behaviour change, family relationship services, migrant services, disability services, LGBTIQ+ services, prevention organisations, government policy and specialist services for Aboriginal or Torres Islander people



ASIC - Financial Capability Network

The Financial Wellbeing Network brings together practitioners, educators, researchers, policy makers, academics and other professionals who are committed to empowering Australians to be in control of their financial lives.

It is a cross-sector platform that supports members to connect, collaborate, share knowledge and discover new evidence-based approaches to complete our work.

The network is led by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission lead Australian Government Agency for financial capability.

Network Benefits

Events: Be inspired to expand your thinking & approach at our national events and conferences. Connect with other network members and share expertise at our face-to-face networking events.

Newsletters: Be informed about what is happening in the network, hear from thought leaders, get information about the latest research and promote your work via our newsletter.

Research hub: Stay informed about the latest Australian and international research on our research hub.

Expertise and resources: Access to consumer, communication and service delivery expertise.

The next Financial Wellbeing Network event will be held on Thursday 29 October at 12noon.

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/financial-wellbeing-network-webinar-thursday-29-october-2020-tickets-122355968997

View more here https://financialcapability.gov.au/



FCA Board - Nominations are now open for two elected financial counsellor directors

Applications close on Monday 19th October 2020.

The FCA Board is comprised of four financial counsellor directors and three external, appointed directors.

There will be two vacancies for elected financial counsellor directors arising at the FCA AGM in November.  The financial counsellor directors are elected by FCA's Representative Council.  The election will take place at the Council's meeting on Monday 16th November.

Accredited financial counsellors are invited to apply.

Contact steffany@safca.org.au if you would like a copy of the Candidate's pack.

 


Author: SAFCA

SAFCA

Suite 7 Wellington Centre, 2 Portrush Rd.
Payneham SA 5070