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Photo: Isla Francis (Tarkine Forest, 2018)

They say seeing is believing, and sometimes, it takes a city stewing in smoke to light the fire within. As the Eastern seaboard lives through consecutive weeks of historic air pollution, it’s giving the lucky country a taste of how fortunes can change.

As gigatonnes of carbon from our forests tragically transform into ghosts of gas that will haunt us for generations to come — these flames stoke our deepest fears.

Despite being hundreds of kilometres away, children are no longer permitted to play outside during school. And in a dark twist of fate, our air quality deteriorated to the same hazardous levels as Delhi’s as the winds recirculate the ashy remains of our dwindling carbon sinks. …

Excerpt of post published on 9th of June, 2019 on the abfinance Facebook page.

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Sumac Forest Basecamp — Save the Tarkine Campaign

When it’s all quiet and I’m walking through the woods — I can sometimes hear the alarm bells of the climate emergency ringing. However, as I head home and cross the busy street, I’m also aware it’s easily drowned out by the noise.

Although we like to frame life in neat models, assume economic rationality, and consider ourselves scientific. There are many things we miss, struggle to measure, and don’t quite fit within our cultural narrative.

Here are a few:

We don’t look at payback periods when we go out of our way to help a friend.

We don’t run spreadsheets to calculate our return on investment when we tend to our garden.

We don’t raise kids because it makes economic sense, or to care for us in our old age.

No — it’s deeper than that.

It’s a commitment and relationship with something bigger than ourselves, fuelled by one thing — l.o.v.e.

So although I have the urge to talk about how many billions of dollars our major banks have loaned to fossil fuel companies that have irreversibly destroyed our soils, polluted our waterways and jeopardised the stability of our climate.

And my immediate instinct is to start dispelling the myth that ethical banks cost more by showing you that you can save money and bank in alignment with your values.

…I hesitate.

As I don’t want to encourage the emergence of our inner bean counter; that voice in our head won’t help us here.

It’s not the extension of quantitative reasoning, better evidence or financial incentives alone that will get us doing what we need to do.

As Charles Eisenstein helped me put a finger on — We shouldn’t act only to save the planet. But rather, simply because we love this place.

I’m blessed to have had the unforgettable experiences of living in and visiting places that are far less fortunate. And I can tell you this, we’re the lucky country. …

To my beloved family, friends, clients and colleagues that call the electorate of Wentworth home.

They say it’s not polite to discuss politics, and I generally adhere to that. But, tomorrows by-election is different. I’m not too sure how it turned out like this, but it’s truly become the race that stopped the nation, and you Wentworthians are sitting in the political driver’s seat.

And I am asking you from the bottom of my heart, on what could be the most important political decision of your life, to #putLiberalsLast tomorrow.

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Do you live in one of these areas? If so, #PleasePutLiberalsLast

The policy pens of every party are prepped, and the fat cats are watching and wondering: which issues capture votes? …

Sometimes we need to climb above the clouds for a clearer perspective. On the Queens Birthday, we hiked up to the top of Mount Rufus to look down on the depths of Lake St Clair.

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Lake St Clair is Australias deepest lake

This stunning wilderness is part of The Western Tasmanian Wilderness National Parks Area. Within its boundaries is a unique combination of natural beauty, rich biodiversity and long indigenous history.

Over the mountains lies the Franklin River & Southwest National Parks and the battlegrounds for Australia’s most infamous environmental movement — the “Save the Franklin” campaign.

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In the early 1980’s, the Tasmanian government submitted their application with UNESCO for a chain of six national parks to be recognised (and protected) as World Heritage. …

Ethics are the moral principles governing our behaviour. We ask ourselves ethical questions whenever we think about how we should act.

So, if ethics aims to answer “How should I live?”, ethical banking focuses on “How should I bank?”

Despite frequent “bank bashing” in the media, and in backyard bbq’s across the country, there’s nothing unethical about banking itself. Banks serve a valuable purpose in keeping our money safe and lending money to individuals and businesses.

Banking operations keep the economy lubricated and their wide influence impacts customers, staff, small business, communities, real estate, government policy and the environment.

Ethical customers are holding banks accountable for these impacts by demanding banks behave ethically. These customers strongly consider their banks behaviour along with rates, fees and convenience whenever they’re evaluating their personal banking decisions. …

It’s been over a month since banks and brokers were first in line to sit before the royal commission. They got a grilling as the commissioner probed to understand the complexities within the existing $1.7 trillion residential mortgage industry. The big banks decided they wouldn’t enforce “gag orders”, overriding existing confidentiality agreements, and so it began.

Despite two recent reviews by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) and Australian Banking Association (the Sedgwick Review) the commission seemed to uncover view points previously missed, or muted. …

The customer. They are at the heart of my ethical mortgage broking business from the minute they first contact me.

It could be answering a question, explaining a financial concept in a way that makes sense, or being available outside of banking hours etc.

I act for my clients and their unique situation. I see my work as offering a lending solution and experience that feels human. Together we build trust, an understanding of financial concepts and lending options to spec matching their needs and objectives.

I also act for the banks, but in a different capacity. I must correctly represent their products and accurately assess if my clients meet their lending policy and repayments requirements.

I act for society as an educator and custodian. I infuse purpose into the work I do today because it will influence the culture of our communities tomorrow.


Andrew Bakonyi

Founder of abfinance, a purpose driven mortgage practice that combines head and heart to find competitive home loans that make positive changes in the world.

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