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RBA Update September

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RBA rate on hold for September 2018

It should come as no surprise to many that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has kept the Official Cash Rate on hold for the month of September 2018. This statement comes less than a week after Westpac Bank disregarded the official interest rate and increased costs for its borrowers. Tim Lawless from Core Logic believes that Westpac’s decision is likely to decrease the chances of a higher cash rate even more.

Commonwealth Bank, ANZ and National Australia Bank are now considering following suit and weighing up whether to pursue Westpac's lead after the central bank again signalled that official rates were unlikely to change in the near future. Westpac justified its decision to raise rates by pointing to higher wholesale funding costs and a smaller deposit base.

This is the 25th consecutive month since the RBA have made any change to the cash rate. RBA governor Philip Lowe's statement remained upbeat, arguing the Australian economy grew at above trend pace in the first half of the year. However, Dr Lowe pointed to debt and drought as looming concerns in the domestic economy.

"Household income has been growing slowly and debt levels are high. The drought has led to difficult conditions in parts of the farm sector," Dr Lowe said.

The RBA also appears to be not overly concerned with the out-of-cycle rates rises emerging in the home lending sector.

"Money-market interest rates are higher than they were at the start of the year, although they have declined somewhat since the end of June," Dr Lowe said.

As per last month’s closing statement, the RBA stated “further progress in reducing unemployment and having inflation return to target is expected, although this progress is likely to be gradual”. “Taking account of the available information, the Board judged that holding the stance of monetary policy unchanged at this meeting would be consistent with sustainable growth in the economy and achieving the inflation target over time.”

For the official RBA article, please visit the Reserve Bank’s website.

 

Reliance Bank supports #MoreThan4 campaign

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Reliance Bank today strongly supports a new campaign by COBA called #MoreThan4 which calls for a proportionate approach to banking regulation. The campaign launched by the Customer Owned Banking Association seeks to move Australia’s banking regulatory regime from a one size fits all approach to a proportionate regulatory regime.

“The high regulatory costs on Customer Owned banking institutions such as ours means our banking market isn’t as competitive as it should be,” Mark Genovese, Chief Executive Officer of Reliance Bank said.

“At Reliance Bank, we strongly believe a proportionate regulatory regime would allow us to grow and deliver even more for customers in our community.

“Smaller institutions face higher regulatory costs compared to major banks. Keeping regulation proportionate will boost competition in retail banking.

“We support a new approach to regulation that recognises there are #MoreThan4 banking institutions.

“As a Member Owned and focused institution looking after the best interests of Members needs, we pride ourselves in this and our ability to do this will come under threat if we are continually burdened by poorly targeted regulation.” 

Mark Genovese, Chief Executive Officer and Danny Pavisic, Deputy CEO, General Manager Corporate Services attended the Hike the Hill meetings.  

“To show our support for a proportionate regulatory regime, Reliance Bank met with Andrew Gee in Canberra to discuss how this regime would deliver a more competitive banking market. 

“We encourage our community to support the #MoreThan4 campaign, so we can create a regulatory regime that leads to more competition, choice and better outcomes for consumers.

“Proportionate regulation would be good policy even if we had a healthy banking market, but we do not, so the need for a new approach to regulation is urgent.”

#MoreThan4 to join the conversation on social media.

 

Reliance Bank steps in to make a difference.

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Reliance Bank has today announced a Drought Assistance Package to support their Members who are facing difficult times from the severe drought conditions across NSW and QLD. 

“We understand the hardship some of our Members are facing due to the prolonged drought conditions. As always, we will continue to provide support to our affected Members,” said Mark Genovese, Chief Executive Officer of Reliance Bank. 

“We always place the interests of our Members first. If they need assistance, we are ready to discuss their circumstances and determine the best way we can help them.”

Options that may be available to drought affected Members include: 

  • Waiving home loan and personal loan application fees;
  • Credit card and personal loan relief where appropriate;
  • Extension of loan terms, consideration of restructure of loan repayments to interest only;
  • Deferring of home and personal loan repayments; and
  • Waiving interest rate penalties for early withdrawal of Term Deposits.  

Should you require hardship assistance, please contact our Member Credit Management team.

E: membercreditmanagement@unitybank.com.au

P: 13 24 40

 
   

Protect Your Accounts

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We live in a rapidly changing digital world where our personal information is real value, just like money.

Here are a few tips that can make a difference to your digital privacy

 

1.     Personal Information

Make sure you know who is getting your personal or financial information. Don’t give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you’ve initiated the contact or know who you’re dealing with.

If a company that claims to have an account with you sends an email asking for personal information, don’t click on links in the email. Instead, type the company name into your web browser, go to their site and contact them through customer service. Or, call the customer service number listed on your account statement.

We will never ask for your account information via an email!

 

2.      Keep your electronic software up to date.

Software updates may be pesky but they’re worth downloading. The latest versions often contain security updates to help defend your device against viruses, malware and other online threats that may pose a security threat to your personal finances.

 

3.      Log out every time

Closing a browser or typing over an address is not the same as logging out. Shut down apps when you’re not using them and make a habit of logging out of websites when you’re done. Most online banking applications automatically time out, but its cyber-smart to click ‘log out’ every time.

 

4.      Check the machine

One of the most common ways a scammer will try to get access to your bank account is at the ATM. This is usually done by installing a ‘skimmer’ over the card reader, which captures the data on your card when you place it into the machine. The scammers then use that data to create a dummy card, which can also be used to access your account.

Always check before using ATMS especially if they aren’t owned by a bank looking for signs of:

·         Any signs of tampering

·         Anything that looks out of place

·         Anything that seems to move when touched

 

And always cover your pin!

 

5.      Check your balance

Banks are usually quite effective at detecting suspicious activity on their customers’ accounts. But they're not perfect. So check your account balance regularly. When you do, go through your transactions and make sure they match up to what you’ve spent. If you have a joint account make sure your partner does the same.

 

If you notice any signs of fraudulent activity on your account contact: 13 24 40 

 

 

Tips To Make Your Tax Time Easier

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There’s probably no avoiding it – if you are an Australian resident or business owner for tax purposes, you have to lodge your tax return. Getting your paperwork organised can feel challenging, but approaching with the mindset of “what can I claim for?” may make preparing your tax return more bearable. While everyone will have different things to consider, here are some tips on how you can get more prepared: 

Know your income 

If you are an employee, your income tax may have been withheld from your salary as part of the Pay As You Go (PAYG) scheme by your employer. Therefore, you should receive a Payment Summary or Group Certificate from your employer, at the end of the financial year, which will outline how much income you received and tax you paid for the previous financial year.

Other incomes include;

  • Super pensions, annuities and government payments
  • Savings and Investment income (including interest, dividends, rent and capital gains)
  • Business, partnership and trust income
  • Foreign income
  • Income from crowdfunding (for example donations received for a venture in which you intend to make a profit)
  • Income from the sharing economy (for example Uber or AirBnB)
  • Other income - including compensation and insurance payments, discounted shares under employee share schemes, some prizes and awards

Visit the ATO's website for more information on income you must declare. 

How to retrieve your interest statement through Reliance Bank Internet Banking

  • Log into Internet Banking
  • Click on Accounts then Interest
  • The interest you’ve earned for the financial year will be displayed on the statement

If you have any issues accessing your interest statements, please contact our Member Service Centre on 13 24 40.

Deductions/Expenses 

If you’re employed, you may be able to claim some expenses relating to your work and income. In general, expenses are claimable when:

  • You spent the money and weren’t reimbursed by your employer
  • The money spent was a work-related expense
  • You have an official record of the expense – such as a receipt, bank statement or diary entry like a travel log book (In some cases you may not have to show evidence if your total claim for work-related expenses is $300 or less)
  • If the cost was for both work and personal use, for example, home internet, you can only claim a portion of the expense.

Deductions/expenses you may be able to claim, if you meet the ATO’s criteria: 

  • Vehicle and travel expenses
  • Clothing, laundry and dry-cleaning expenses
  • Gifts and donations
  • Home office expenses
  • Interest, dividend and other investment income deductions
  • Self-education expenses
  • Tools and other work-related equipment
  • Other deductions like union fees, income protection insurance, overtime meals, etc 

Visit the ATO's website for more information on deductions you can claim. 

Deductions/expenses you cannot claim

  • Travel between work and home
  • Most Car expenses
  • Private travel
  • Meal expenses unless you were required to work away from home overnight
  • Everyday clothing
  • Self-education expenses
  • Higher Education Loan Program
  • Phones or internet which relate to private use
  • Tools and equipment that cost more than $300 

How to lodge your Tax Return

What you will need: 

  • Your Tax File Number (TFN)
  • Payment Summary/Group Certificate
  • Interest earned on your savings
  • Information on your investments
  • Medical expense receipts
  • Any Donations or contributions to charities
  • Work expenses receipts

Lodging your tax return yourself or use a tax agent? 

You can lodge your tax return yourself or get a registered tax agent to do it for you.

If you’re unsure of the Australian tax laws, have a complex tax situation or find paperwork overwhelming, an agent’s expertise may be invaluable. They may be able to get you a larger refund.

If you choose to do your tax return yourself, you can lodge it online using the MyTax platform. You will need a MyGov account first in order to lodge it online. 

Source: MoneySmartAU

These tips are general advice only. For advice tailored to your specific situation please contact the Australian Tax Office or talk to your tax agent.

   

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