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: ANZ issues moral hazard dividend

Via the excellent Jonathon Mott at ANZ: 3Q20 ahead of expectations. Boosted by strong trading and lower bad debts ANZ Cash NPAT $1.5bn, ~$200m above UBSe. Highlights (vs 1H20 ave): (1) Revenue significantly higher than expected. Trading income rose 60%, implying ~$930m in 3Q. This compares to targeted trading income of ~$1.8bn p.a.; (2) Excluding


Mortgage deferrals hammer Aussie banks

Westpac yesterday released its third quarter results, with the company announcing that it would not pay a dividend due to “significant uncertainty” and “increased provisions for bad debts” as “many mortgage and business customers continue to require assistance”. Included in its disclosures is the below slide showing that 78,000 customers had deferred $30 billion worth


Homebuilders demand lower mortgage standards

Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe suggested on 14 August that responsible lending restrictions implemented in the wake of the banking royal commission are impacting on credit growth. Lowe’s comments before federal parliament’s Standing Committee on Economics have been used as ammunition by the the Housing Industry Association (HIA) to argue for eased restrictions on mortgage


Westpac canary drops dead

Get a load of this shocker from Westpac this morning: That is threatening to become a complete ponzi-unwind: skyrocketing bad debts leading to… rising risk-weighted asset capital needs leading to… canceled dividends leading to… lower equity leading to… lower lending leading to… rinse and repeat.


The great mortgage extend and pretend

The latest Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) data on mortgage repayment deferrals revealed that $195 billion of mortgages have been deferred by around 500,000 Australian households, accounting for 11% of total outstanding mortgage debt: Moreover, around one-third of investor mortgages have been deferred, according to APRA: With the September deadline on the resumption of mortgage


Aussie banks caught in mortgage squeeze

Australia’s banks are currently engaged in a mortgage war, which is seeing average mortgage rates plummet to record lows of just 3.65% (discount variable) and 2.35% (3-year fixed), according to the RBA: However, while refinancing borrowers are the big winners from this mortgage war, spare a thought for deposit holders, whose savings rates are being


Joye: Default tsunami coming in March

Good work from Chris Joye today: One significant concern relates to record unofficial arrears in illiquid and subordinated bonds comprising “securitised” portfolios of Australian home loans, SME loans and consumer loans that are packaged up and sold to investors through residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) and asset-backed securities (ABS). We are particularly anxious about RMBS and


A mortgage war of attrition

According to the Reserve Bank’s latest indicator lending rates, average mortgage rates have fallen to their lowest level on record at just 2.35% for 3-year fixed and 3.65% for discount variable: These are average rates of course, and much better deals – under 2% – can be gained from specific lenders, with juicy cash backs


UBS: Aussie banks mull “artificial dividends”

Via the excellent Jonathon Mott at UBS: Two steps forward… one big step back? With Melbourne moving to Level 4 lockdown (all non-essential businesses closed), the outlook for the Australian economy and banks has deteriorated sharply. After a strong economic bounce from May until early July, this is a clear setback. While the assumptions underpinning


Does Australia need Labor’s new bank?

Via Crikey: A slow news day in a pandemic is a great time to trot out the old “wouldn’t it be a good idea to start a government-owned bank” story. What a fabulous concept. No wonder Labor’s shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers jumped at the chance to support the union-backed report from the Per Capita think tank. But wait. Wasn’t it Labor which sold the last government-owned


Australia’s mortgage market rebounds

Today’s new mortgage data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recorded a rebound in June as COVID-19 restrictions were lifted: The next chart plots the time series: Total new mortgage commitments (excluding refinancings) rose by 6.2% in June, with owner-occupied mortgages rising 5.5% and investor mortgages rising 8.1%. Year-on-year, total new mortgage commitments (excluding


UBS: SME crash a banking smash

Via UBS’ excellent Jonathon Mott: SME health-check – deteriorating since the Melbourne lockdown Our recent SME In-depth Report laid out key indicators to watch for the health of the sector. Higher frequency data by both the ABS and ACA Research indicates that SME performance has worsened since Melbourne re-entered lockdown. ABS data indicated that 50%


The Specufeckoning: 36% of investor mortgages in deferral

Via APRA: Many authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs) have granted temporary relief to borrowers impacted by COVID-19, allowing them to defer loan repayments for a period of time. To provide greater transparency of loan repayment deferrals at the industry level, APRA is publishing the aggregated data obtained from all ADIs in Australia, excluding foreign branches. *the


Property investors flee Australia’s mortgage market

The Reserve Bank of Australia has released mortgage data for June, which reveals that mortgage credit growth continues to soften, driven by fleeing property investors. As shown in the next chart, overall mortgage growth fell to just 0.7% over the June quarter: Growth has been dragged down by property investors where demand continues to fall,


Mortgage offset accounts flooded with early super money

As we know, early withdrawals from superannuation ballooned to $28.0 billion in the week ended 19 July: The Australian Treasury now expects about $41.9 billion in total to be withdrawn from super funds, compared with its previous forecast of $29.5 billion. Analysis of banking data shows that most of this money is being saved, used to


Australia’s mortgage time bomb rigged to blow

Earlier this month, the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) released data confirming that just under half a million borrowers had deferred repayments on $192 billion worth of mortgages: These mortgage deferrals comprise 11% of all housing loans, according to APRA, with around on-third of property investors with mortgages taking advantage of the repayment holidays: A


Shockingly corrupt APRA releases bank dividends

So shockingly predictable (if you’ll pardon the oxymoron): The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has updated its capital management guidance for banks and insurers, in particular easing restrictions around paying dividends as institutions continue to manage the disruption caused by COVID-19. APRA’s updated guidance replaces its recommendation in April this year that banks and insurers “seriously consider