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Official Cash Rate Left at Record Lows at March 2018 RBA Meeting

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RBA Rate remains at record low for March 2018

As widely anticipated, the Reserve Bank of Australia has decided to keep the cash rate on hold at 1.50% for March 2018. All 22 economists polled by Bloomberg expect the cash rate to remain at 1.50%. This now marks 19 months in a row of this record low remaining in place.

Many investors do not envisage an increase in the rate until 2019, because of the crack-down on investors and interest-only lending, which has in turned slowed down the housing market. “Dwelling values in Sydney have reduced by 3.7 per cent since peaking in July last year and Melbourne vales are 0.4 per cent lower since peaking in November.”

Speaking at the A50 Australian Economic Forum dinner, Mr Lowe said that Australia does not need to “move in lock-step” with other countries like the US and UK, which have already begun raising rates.

Wage growth has been an area of particular interest, based on 2017’s final quarter increase for private sector workers. Yet, there are some reports that employers are finding it harder to hire the correct employees, in terms of their required skill sets.

Inflation is still low – both the CPI and underlying inflation are just under 2%. However this is forecasted to rise later in the year. Conversely, the unemployment rate has declined, as employment has been rising in all states

Additionally, the Reserve Bank believes that the Australia economy should see more growth in 2018, compared to that of 2017. This is due to numerous reasons, including the rise in non-mining business investment, growth in exports, increases in public infrastructure investment and strengthening overall business conditions.

“Higher on the RBA Board’s agenda is likely to be inflation and employment. Year ended inflation averaged just 1.9 per cent over 2017, and the unemployment rate was 5.5 per cent in January, up from 5.4 per cent in November last year.”

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

 

Family First announces initiative to tackle mental health issues in regional areas

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Family First Credit Union is proud to announce initiatives to tackle the increasing trend of mental health issues in regional areas

Family First Credit Union, at its October 2017 Board Meeting, agreed to double the social dividend rate to 0.30% of balances held in Bonus Saver Accounts as well as changing the beneficiary of the scheme to combine all branch bonus saver social dividends to tackle the increasing trend of mental health issues impacting our regional communities.

As at the end of February 2018, Family First Credit Union held $5,863,435 in Bonus Saver Accounts which means based on this average balance, an annual social dividend payment of $17,590.30 would be donated to various organisations throughout our 4 regional communities to help fund and support people suffering from mental health issues.

Family First Credit Union Chief Executive Officer Darryl Macauley said "this is a great initiative announced by Family First Credit Union and we strongly encourage our members to assist us with raising funds for this important issue. People suffering from mental health issues and suicide rates in our regional areas tend to be higher than the average recorded for metropolitan areas and that most likely results from the lack of services available to treat affected people west of the great divide. If we can help fund those services and it makes a difference to just one suffering person, the initiative would have been well worth it". He went on to say "it's surprising how many people are affected by mental health issues and how close you are to them without even realising that they are suffering. I think that this is part of the challenge for society in detecting the warning signs and acting appropriately. This comes down to education and hopefully through endeavours such as ours and others, education and awareness of mental health issues can be heightened so that it does not attract the stigma it has in the past in that it is generally kept quiet and whereby affected people suffer in silence. It doesn't have to be that way and we all owe it to each other to look after those impacted people that are doing it a little tough by making sure that they are ok or by being around them when they need to speak to someone".

As such Family First Credit Union is encouraging all members to support this initiative and open a Bonus Saver Account and in addition to earning a great rate of interest, you could also be saving a life. The more funds that are deposited into Bonus Saver Accounts results in a greater social dividend made to this cause.

For further information about this initiative or should you wish to open a Bonus Saver Account, please pop into your local Family First branch at Lithgow, Mudgee, Blackheath or Bathurst or call us on 1300 369 900.

   

Family First Credit Union launches instantaneous payment scheme

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Family First Credit Union successfully launches instantaneous payments via the New Payments Platform (NPP)

It is with great delight that Family First Credit Union has successfully launched instantaneous payments on Tuesday 13 February 2018.

This time a month ago, instantaneous payments were able to be received into and made from a Family First Credit Union account.

This initiative, launched under the guidance of NPPA, saw a total of 51 financial institutions offer this service from Day 1.

Chief Executive Officer Darryl Macauley advised that "this was a ground breaking change for the payments landscape having been developed over the past 4 years. The fact that Family First Credit Union can offer this facility from Day 1 whilst some notable larger institutions like the ANZ Bank and St George Bank could not, is a great testament to what we are trying to achieve in offering our members the most up to date product range and functionality when it comes to their day to day banking needs. This payment facility, referred to NPP or an OSKO payment, is world class with no other payment system in the world like this. No longer does a Family First member have to wait 24 - 48 hours for either a payment to be made from or received into a financial account as this will now take roughly 6 seconds".

The NPP is also built around the functionality of creating a PayID for your account. This effectively means that no longer will you be required to remember a BSB and Account Number however you can send the payment to a mobile phone number, email address or an ABN which is directly linked to that account.

Darryl Macauley, Chief Executive Officer of Family First Credit Union advises all of its members "to create a PayID on their Family First Credit Union Account. This will ensure that you will be able to receive payments into your Family First Credit Union Account within 6 seconds of them being sent. Members can do this themselves over both internet or mobile banking or alternatively contacting us on 1300 369 900 or calling into your local Family First branch whereby a friendly Member Service Officer can create a PayID on your behalf".

For more information relating to the NPP facility or OSKO payments please click here.

For more information regarding PayID, click here.

For more information regarding NPPA, click here.

 

 

Online Loan Redraw Facility Now Available

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Family First Credit Union has recently upgraded its internet and mobile banking programs to include online loan redraw functionality

Have you made additional payments to your loan over and above your contractual repayments?

If so, provided the additional payments received into your loan exceed $1,000, you will be able to redraw them online fee free!

This means that the amount available for redraw over $1,000 will show up as available for withdrawal in both internet and mobile banking.

You can withdraw the advance payments directly from your loan by either:

(a) transferring to your savings account whereby the amount can be withdrawn over the counter, by ATM or by Visa card purchase;

(b) transfer electronically to another financial institution either by normal EFT (24 - 48 hours) or via NPP by OSKO payment (immediate);

(c) perform a BPAY transaction directly from the loan account

You do not have to register for this facility, provided you are in advance of your loan repayments by an amount of $1,000 or more, you will have access to this functionality.

Just a note for joint loans accounts, both parties will need to be registered for either internet or mobile banking as dual authorisation is required regardless of whether or not access to joint savings is open to either party. In these instances, one of the joint borrowers will need to request the transfer and the second party to the joint account will need to authorise the online loan redraw transaction. This will involve an "over the shoulder' authorisation in the case of internet banking however in mobile banking, the pending authorisation will show up in the second persons mobile banking session which will require authorisation by the joint account holder.

 

For further information, please call into one of our community branches or call one of our friendly Member Service Officers on 1300 369 900.