Alan Kohler hit the panic button last week when he liquidated much of his superannuation fund’s share portfolio and opted for a 55% cash allocation.

I’m cautiously buying at the moment but two things happened on Friday night that were really quite spooky. Firstly, we had this restated profit announcement from City Pacific at 6.45pm, followed 20 minutes later by a cracking analysis from Southern Cross Equities guru Charlie Aitkin who predicted in Eureka Report that we’ve got a wave of Australian bank capital raisings coming our way.

Too right we have, because the subsequent collapse in City Pacific shows what a full-blown crisis has unfolded in the Australian non-bank lending market.

These two developments are connected because it is the Commonwealth Bank that has pulled the rug on City Pacific’s $1.1 billion mortgage fund, causing the controversial Gold Coast company to demand developers return more than $300 million this month.

So, who can the likes of City Pacific and a raft of developers turn to for funding? Well, from this morning, don’t get your hopes up about the Millionaire Factory.

Macquarie Group has 2.5% of Australia’s $850 billion home loan mortgage market and today released this statement from financial services boss Peter Maher admitting that funding blowouts had forced it to “substantially reduce” new business immediately.

Macquarie’s 95,000 existing home loan borrowers have nothing to worry about but it seems the likes of Allco can forget about selling its $660 million Mobius loan book to Macquarie.

If the all powerful Macquarie is effectively closing the door on new mortgages, what hope is there for the huge chunk of the securitisation industry which is on the block?

That leaves the big banks, which are getting absolutely deluged with loan refinancing requests and will need to raise capital to cope with the demand.

The scary thing right now is that the Reserve Bank is so thinly capitalised. Maybe the Future Fund should take a $1 billion placement from each of our Big Four banks so they can start refinancing more of that crippling $610 billion net foreign debt we carry.

We shouldn’t be sorry to see the back of City Pacific, which is yet another colourful property and financial group that has tapped retirees through huge commissions paid to financial planners.

However, it is a major worry that The AFR reports today that it wants to freeze redemptions on its $1 billion First Mortgage Fund after a deluge of withdrawals.

The company blames bad press and has even sued Fairfax and Michael West.

CEO and largest shareholder Phil Sullivan is shooting the messenger. As Bryan Frith notes in The Australian today, City Pacific’s disclosure and governance has been absolutely woeful.

Does anyone fancy buying part of the company’s extravagant $650 million Martha Cove marina development on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. It’s now up for sale, joining the long list of commercial property that is on the block.

The Grollo family, which is building the project, seems the only logical buyer.

The latest Mayne Report video attacks City Pacific’s defamation tactics.

Peter Fray

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