Australian banks

MacroBusiness covers Australian banks from the perspective of their macro-economic role, as political economy actors, as investment propositions and in terms of financial stability and capital adequacy. Australian banks have played a crucial role in inflating the Australian property bubble, exist within an utterly privileged position as “too big to fail” institutions and operate within a deeply distorted financial architecture that has Australian tax payers well and truly on the hook in the event of trouble. MacroBusiness seeks to define this role for investors as well as change it in the name of the Australian national interest.


UBS: Westpac warning “alarming” for interest only reset

Via UBS’ excellent Jonathon Mott: WBC is finding it very difficult to estimate the potential remediation requirements for customers served via aligned planners, especially as many planners no longer work under BTFG Licences and in many cases have left the industry. WBC indicated that it generated fees of $966m from this channel in the decade


Deutsche: APRA fudging mortgage data?

By Leith van Onselen Analysts at Deutsche bank believe they have found a major flaw in APRA’s mortgage data, which significantly understates average loan size. Basically, because APRA has failed to adjust for split-loans, the $276,000 average loan size figure has been understated by around 40%, according to Deutsche, thus giving regulators a false sense


UBS: Banks wealth exit “warm up” to house price “main event”

Via the excellent Jonathon Mott at UBS: We have cut FY19E EPS by 3% given exit costs and larger losses from the Advice business, but we upgraded FY20E by 0.6% (exit from loss-making business). However, our forecasts are yet to incorporate further customer remediation charges (fee-for-no-service) for aligned advisers which are very difficult to estimate.


Mad Macquarie kills Bank of Mum and Dad

Via the AFR: Macquarie Bank is axing popular “Bank of Mum and Dad” financing and borrowing for self-managed super fund investment property as it continues to overhaul its residential property operations. The bank, which recently announced it was no longer underwriting new “home-branded” loans for several household-name lenders, stopped offering family loan guarantees on Monday


APRA must immediately ban ANZ’s new ponzi-mortgages

Today I am in shock, which isn’t easy these days. Via the AFR comes the ASIC chief referencing post Hayne Royal Commission bank reform efforts: “I am still not convinced that there’s enough wherewithal and ownership by leaders of these financial institutions to actually finish the job,” Mr Shipton told the Australian Competition and Consumer


S&P: Mortgage arrears to remain elevated

Via S&P: Arrears on the mortgages underlying Australian residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) have increased year on year, while prepayment rates have slowed, according to S&P Global Ratings’ latest edition of “RMBS Performance Watch: Australia.” In particular, arrears that are in an advanced stage (more than 90 plus days) reached a record high of 0.75% in


How mortgage brokers corrupted Hayne in record time

Via the AFR: …For months, brokers have phoned the offices of federal politicians, fired off angry emails and held town-hall style meetings to berate MPs for an attack on their livelihoods after both sides promised to implement most of the commission’s recommendations on broker pay. At the same time, TV personality Bouris, a business ally


Mortgage brokers roll Recessionberg

Desperation, thy name is Recessionberg, via AFR: The federal government has backflipped on a key recommendation of the banking royal commission and will no longer ban trail commissions for mortgage brokers from 2020, as it promised to do last month. Instead, it will hold a review into whether trail commissions should be kept from 2020 onwards.


Labor commits to all but one Hayne recommendations

By Leith van Onselen Shadow financial services minister Clare O’Neil will use a Committee for Sydney speech on 12 March to reveal that Labor will reject only one recommendation in the Hayne royal commission’s final report if it wins the upcoming federal election. Labor has joined the Coalition in opposing the proposal to shift the


UBS: Credit crunch to intensify

Via The Australian comes UBS’s George Tharenou: “My framework here is that the regulatory tightening is accelerating, so the only effective policy lever available in the near term to stimulate the economy is the cash rate,” he says. “There’s a view that the royal commission was benign because it didn’t change law, but we never


UBS: Banks won’t pass on rate cuts

Via UBS’ excellent Jonathon Mott today: The recent reporting season highlighted the revenue pressure the banks are under. The substantial mortgage repricing undertaken by the banks over the last six months has already been largely offset by: higher funding costs; front-book discounting; switching from Interest-Only to P&I; mix changes from Investors to Owner Occupiers and


ASIC lines up money laundering CBA executives

Via Nathan Lynch of Reuters via Banking Day: The Australian corporate regulator is pushing ahead with a landmark case against some of Commonwealth Bank’s existing and former board members over the organisation’s anti-money laundering (AML) failures. The civil case is shaping up to be one of the first under the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s


CLSA: Suncorp mortgage bond failure ‘a canary’

By Leith van Onselen Queensland-based Suncorp Group has advised that a $120 million residential mortgage bond may not be able to repay all investors. The bond’s distributions have been thrown into doubt because the proportion of borrowers in arrears had reached a ‘trigger’ point. The bond dates back to 2010, so borrowers have been meeting


ASIC takes aim at dodgy mortgage lending

By Leith van Onselen The noose is slowly fastening around Australia’s mortgage industry. The Hayne royal commission found that mortgage lenders had not adequately assessed borrowers’ capacity before extending credit, instead relying on the Household Expenditure Measure (HEM) – a relative poverty measure that estimates expenditure at the lower end of the income scale. This


Westpac: Mortgage arrears rising across Australia

Westpac’s excellent February 2019 Housing Pulse contains interesting information on mortgage arrears, which are rising across the four major markets: Mortgage arrears provide a timely indicator of urgent or distressed sales – the presence of which can precipitate significant price weakness. For most existing home owners there is a degree of optionality when it comes


Labor to slug banks $640m for new “fairness” levy

By Leith van Onselen Labor proposes to establish a Financial Rights Fund if it wins the upcoming federal election, which will assist victims of misconduct in the financial services sector. This ‘fairness’ fund will be financed via a new levy on Australia’s largest financial institutions, and is slated to raise $160m annually over four years.


Dodgy lending class action “will not be the last”

Via Banking Day: The plaintiff law firm said the class action was being run in the Federal Court on behalf of people who, after 1 January 2011, were given “unsuitable loans” by Westpac, in breach of its responsible lending obligations. …Principal lawyer and managing partner with Maurice Blackburn, Ben Slade, said: “This case will seek


Westpac hit with class action over ‘irresponsible’ mortgages

By Leith van Onselen Westpac will face a class action in the federal court for issuing home loans that breached responsible lending rules. From SBS News: Westpac is facing a class action for allegedly giving loans to people who couldn’t afford to pay them back. The class action, in the Federal Court, is the first


90-day mortgage arrears hit record high

But records are made to be broken. Via S&P: Australian Prime Home Loan Delinquencies Rose In December; 90-Plus Days Arrears Hit Record High MELBOURNE (S&P Global Ratings) Feb. 20, 2019–Australian prime home-loan  arrears rose in December, according to a recently published report by S&P  Global Ratings. The Standard & Poor’s Performance Index (SPIN) for Australian 


Pussy Labor prepares to roll on broker reform

Via the AFR: The chief executives of the four big banks will be made to face Parliament twice a year to report on progress in implementing the banking royal commission reforms, as part of a boosted accountability regime Labor will introduce if it wins the election. As well, the banks, the regulators ASIC and APRA