Happy hump day, team.
1. NAB is the latest bank to go under the microscope, with ASIC alleging the bank violated the law more than 10,000 times, leaving it exposed to massive fines. The regulator claims the violations happened over the course of five years by issuing misleading product disclosure statements and charging customers for services they never received – something the bank was allegedly doing as recently as February this year. Not a good look, considering the royal commission and all.
2. Where's ScoMo? On holiday, apparently. Rumours are circulating he is in Hawaii, but the prime minister's office won't confirm or deny that. Some argue it's a bad look considering large chunks of the nation are currently engulfed in flames, whereas others say he's entitled to a break and probably wouldn't be doing much of practical use if he were here anyway. I'll leave the optics judgement to you.
3. The RBA has issued a stern warning: tech firms like Facebook and Google could kill Australia's big banks. After the royal commission – and everything else which has followed – you might be less than inclined to shed a tear for the financial sector, but there it is. RBA head of financial stability Johnathan Kearns said technological change looked to “erode, or maybe even eradicate” the long-standing advantages that the big four banks have enjoyed for years. On the other hand, the banks themselves are sweating over smaller fintechs, which are popping up all over the place.
4. Amid all that, there's more drama for Westpac – if you can believe it. Prudential regulator APRA has turned its steely gaze on the beleaguered bank, ordering it to hold an extra $500 million in reserve thanks to its "heightened risk profile". APRA is also investigating whether the bank's money laundering scandal constitutes a contravention of the Banking Act.
5. If you feel there aren't already enough vectors for food acquisition in Australia, you're in luck. You can now order food for pickup from select restaurants straight through a Google search. Some of the included restaurants which employ their own drivers, like Domino's, also offer delivery through the platform.
6. Women-only rideshare platform Shebah recently raised over $675,000 in its second round of crowdfunding. CEO Georgia McEncroe told us the money will be invested into technology and staffing. She thinks the ridesharing market will only expand, and her company's offering – only women riders, only women drivers – will find a space among titans like Uber, Didi, and Ola for those whose primary concern is safety.
7. The pound rallied after Boris Johnson's win in the UK elections this week, but its falling again because of – you guessed it – Brexit. The PM has moved to make it illegal for Britain to continue negotiations with the EU after 2020, essentially locking in a timeline but also raising the possibility of crashing out without a deal. “This sets up another cliff-edge and could create yet more months of uncertainty for investors just when we thought all was squared away,” one analyst said.
8. Boeing has seen $11 billion of market value erased in just two days over the worsening 737 Max situation. Reports of a possible halt in production and then the official announcement sent shares tumbling. The hit to the corporate giant is expected to have knock-on effects for the US economy more generally.
9. Donald Trump sent a freewheeling, mildly insane letter to House speaker Nancy Pelosi airing out his grievances on the eve of his likely impeachment by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. “This impeachment represents an unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power by Democrat Lawmakers, unequaled in nearly two and a half centuries of American legislative history,” the letter said. “You have cheapened the importance of the very ugly word, impeachment!” And so on. You can read the whole thing here.
10. The new Xbox will just be called 'Xbox'. "How is that interesting?" you might ask me. Well, the console was announced with the mildly convoluted branding 'Xbox Series X', but Microsoft has now confirmed it is going by the far simpler moniker in the marketplace, with the Series X branding existing in tandem to "allow room for additional consoles in the future.” Alrighty then.
I fully believe I would crash and die within ten seconds of liftoff in this thing.