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.


The great bank bust begins

Via Banking Day: The full year results of Australia’s big four banks show the negative effects of a low interest-rate environment on earnings, as the banks bunker down and brace for the full economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis to hit. This is a common thread running between reports from two major professional services firms:


Get ready for a fixed rate mortgage boom

Fixed-rate loans dominate the UK mortgage market, accounting for around 90% of home loans. By comparison, 70% to 90% of property borrowers in Australia opt for variable interest rates. However, National Australia Bank CEO Ross McEwan believes that the trend toward fixed-rate loans will continue to gather pace and they may soon account for about


UBS on NAB’s new profit hit

Via Jonathon Mott at UBS: ONE LINER Solid result. Better revenue. Credit provision build. Dividend in line. KEY NUMBERS (FY20, continuing operations) (1) FY20 Cash NPAT from continuing operations $3,710m (8% below Visible Alpha Cons; 1% below UBSe); (2) Cash Basic EPS continuing 121cps (Cons 132cps, UBSe 123cps); (3) Final dividend 30cps (Cons 28cps, UBSe


CBA kicks mortgage cliff to Q3 2021

With repayments on $133 billion worth of mortgages from 325,000 borrowers still deferred, according to APRA, Australia’s largest bank – CBA – has extended a moratorium on forced sales until September 2021: In an email between CBA and Financial Counselling Australia (FCA) obtained by News Corp, the bank confirmed customers still impacted by the health


Strong mortgage growth bullish for property prices

Yesterday’s mortgage finance data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) was unambiguously strong, driven by owner-occupiers: Total new mortgage commitments (excluding refinancings) rose by 25.5% year-on-year in September, driven by a whopping 33.8% growth in owner-occupier mortgage commitments versus 4.2% growth in investor commitments. As regular readers know, mortgage growth is one of the


Australia’s mortgage cliff shrinks to $133 billion

The Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) on Friday updated its loan deferrals data to September 2020, which revealed that there were still $179 billion loans outstanding as at 30 September, accounting for 6.7% of total loans outstanding by value:   The volume of deferred mortgages was $133 billion in September, accounting for 7.4% of total


UBS on ANZ’s crushed profit

Via Jonathon Mott at UBS: ONE LINER Broadly in line excluding ‘large/notable’ items. 35cps div (cons 40cps). CET1 solid beat. KEY NUMBERS (FY20, continuing operations) (1) FY20 Cash NPAT from continuing operations $3,758m (in line with UBSe); (2) Cash Basic EPS continuing 133cps (Cons 136cps, UBSe 133cps); (3) Final dividend 35cps (Cons 39cps, UBSe 40cps).


CBA: Mortgage lending strong again in September

According to CBA’s internal data, Australian mortgage lending strengthened further in September, up 30% year-on-year: However, average loan sizes are shrinking; albeit are still higher year-over-year: The share of fixed rate lending remained at high levels, driven by fixed rates being lower than variable rates: Lending for renovations continued to grow, likely driven by people


Bankers exact their revenge upon ASIC

Via Ian Rogers at Banking Day: The corporate watchdog has lost its key (and fairly recently-hired) attack dog with the resignation of Daniel Crennan, the deputy chair of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Crennan was the person brought in to chase and nail the corporate crooks down in court. His resignation from his ASIC


Mortgage stress near record lows?

According to Roy Morgan Research, Australia’s mortgage stress is running near record lows due to around 400,000 mortgage holders on repayment holidays: New research from Roy Morgan shows an estimated 751,000 mortgage holders (20.2%) were at risk of ‘mortgage stress’ in the three months to August 2020 as Australia navigated its way through the COVID


BOQ’s extraordinary loan deferrals

Via Banking Day: Exposure to the healthcare, property and construction sectors in its SME banking division and to Queensland tourist districts in its home lending business account for Bank of Queensland’s high rate of loan deferrals. Last month, when APRA released loan deferral data at the lender level, BOQ had the highest level of deferred


Mortgage repayment cliff still hangs over property market

The Australian Bankers Association (ABA) has released new data revealing that the number of Australians that have deferred repayments on bank mortgages has fallen to 270,000 from a peak of around 500,000 in June: In late June the number of loans which had been deferred by Australian homeowners and businesses peaked, with around 500,000 mortgages,


Reading Bill Evans’ mind

Find Bill Evans below delivering his ringing endorsement of what was clearly an outlier result for Westpac consumer sentiment yesterday: Look at the Westpac versus ANZ result: Both are post-budget. I’m not arguing that the ANZ result is more right. But I’d suggest taking the average of the two is a more sensible approach than


Aussies furiously repaying mortgages

Data from Firstmac shows that there was a sharp rise in the proportion of the non-bank lenders’ customers who chose to make additional mortgage repayments in the September quarter. CFO James Austin says this suggests that consumers are being cautious in the current economic environment and opting to reduce their mortgage rather than spend their


Insolvent CBA oligarchs crush debate

Via Banking Day today: Retail shareholders have accused Commonwealth Bank of attempting to sanitise Tuesday’s virtual AGM amid allegations that online questions submitted to the board by stakeholders were not aired at the meeting. The bank’s virtual AGM ran for only two hours, making it the shortest annual meeting in more than a decade. CBA’s


Why insolvent CBA must cut Matt Comyn’s salary by 70%

Via Domain: There has been intense scrutiny over pay for top banking executives since the damaging revelations of the Hayne royal commission. Last week the Reserve Bank of Australia said the banking regulator would soon resume work on ensuring executive pay was tied to targets that encourage good practice and culture. CBA chief executive Matt Comyn is


Neobanks turn nonsense banks

Via Banking Day: Deposit interest rates are tending to zero right across the banking industry, and a brazen, stay-in-business pricing decision from Xinja Bank will shock competitors as much as their customers. “We will continue to pay interest only on amounts up to A$150,000 in your Stash account. Any amount above that will not earn


S&P: Aussie banks to struggle

Via Banking Day: The recovery for Australia’s banks will be “a drawn-out affair”, and they will struggle to regain pre-COVID earnings metrics even as credit losses recede, according to a new report from S&P Global Ratings. Weak business and consumer sentiment is likely to remain the main impediment to credit growth. “In our base case,


First home buyers drive mega mortgage boom

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released housing finance data for August, which revealed a massive lift, led by first home buyers. The below chart plots the time series: Total new mortgage commitments (excluding refinancings) surged by 12.6% in August, with owner-occupied mortgages surging 13.6% and investor mortgages rising 9.3%. Year-on-year, total new mortgage