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.


Narev to get the arse?

Via Chanticleer: The announcement that Rob Whitfield will join the board of the Commonwealth Bank will be cheered by investors. In Whitfield, Catherine Livingstone has brought onto the board a high-profile executive with deep banking experience (given his long career at Westpac) and political nous (given his recent roles as secretary of NSW Treasury and of NSW


US to launch Sleaze Bank investigation?

From Domainfax: The Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s apparent failure to properly monitor transactions for money laundering and possible terrorism funding makes action from American regulators inevitable say financial crime experts. American lawyers have told Thomson Reuters that CBA was already responding to information requests from a number of US agencies with differing mandates and enforcement agendas and


Little lenders slam door on specufestors

Via the AFR: Heritage Bank, the nation’s second largest mutual, will stop offering property investment loans and is restructuring other products amid fears it will blow tough regulatory speed limits on lending growth after recent attractive offers attracted a deluge of borrowers. It follows the decision of CUA, the nation’s largest mutual, to stop writing new loans for property


Did APRA already relax macroprudential 2.0?

Via Macquarie: Following the introduction of APRA’s 30% interest-only cap there has been a material reduction in interest-only flow and assuming current trends continue banks will be well below the cap by the required timeframe (Sep-17). This was achieved by a combination of aggressive repricing, tightening of credit standards and some concessions from the regulator.


Sleaze Bank responds

Via CBA: Commonwealth Bank notes recent media reports concerning compliance and transaction monitoring in offshore jurisdictions by the Institutional Banking & Markets division. The document referred to in those media reports was a working document, proposing technology enhancements as part of our ongoing Program of Action, including the automation of tasks currently undertaken manually. A


Sleaze Bank discovers giant laundering holes in itself

Via The Australian: Billions of dollars in Commonwealth Bank transactions in the US, Europe and Asia have not been properly monitored, the bank’s internal review has found, potentially exposing the institution to investigation by ­global regulators. The confidential review of the bank’s compliance with Australian and ­global anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism laws revealed large-scale failures


Evil Anna’s tentacles spread

The damned are hard at work: It sounds like Anna Bligh is putting her stamp on the Australian Bankers’ Association’s poky Secretariat on Sydney’s Pitt Street. The former Queensland Premier (and now Medibank Private director) is hedging her own ALP roots with her latest hire: former Coalition staffer Nathalie Samia. Samia begins next week as the ABA’s executive


Are Sleaze Bank’s problems about to go global?

Via The Australian: Fears are growing that offshore regulators will be next to take a swipe at the nation’s largest bank, as ramifications for Commonwealth Bank’s alleged breaches of anti-money laundering laws start to mount. …The bank is also under investigation by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, while the Monetary Authority of Singapore has said


CLSA: Sleaze Bank issues go well beyond “coding”

Some nice points from the always excellent Brian Johnston at CLSA: CBA likely faces higher operating costs, higher operational risk capital and reduced pricing power from AUSTRAC AML allegations, according to CLSA’s Brian Johnson. And while quantitative signals favour a switch to CBA from WBC, it’s too early to buy given further retail selling of DRP


North Korea shoots down ASX

Break! XJO has just seen its symmetrical triangle break down the wrong way. It’s taken out the 200DMA to boot: This clearly opens the way for lower. Thanks DPRK! This should still lead absolutely nowhere in terms of North Asian conflict. Japan and US have requested a UN Security Council meeting. But we’ve yet to


Interest-only crunch rings bell on house price rises

APRA is out with its quarterly ADI housing exposures and there are some encouraging signs for macrprudential 2.0. Total loans were still up 7% year on year and interest-only 6%. However, more recently, the trends have shifted sharply. Leading flows for the June quarter were only up 0.4% year on year. And interest only flows


What price Sleaze Bank?

Via Credit Suisse: ■ From market darling to chump change: Precedents of banks experiencing governance crises suggest that a peer group NTA multiple de-rating of 10- 20% is plausible (implying a CBA share price of A$74–$81), and that the issue can manifest itself in the share price for an extended period (two years for NAB);


Which banks are most exposed to WA property?

Via Deutsche: Bad debt charges were lower than expected Three of the majors reported bad debt expenses, and were all lower than our expectations. On a BDD/GLA basis, the June quarter charges were 20-30% lower than the run rate implied by our 2H17 forecasts. While quarterly numbers can be volatile, the continuation of benign conditions


Sleaze Bank is the beginning of the end for the bubble

Chanticleer suggests we look to what APRA did to NAB following its forex travails in 2003: APRA conducted a review into that incident and delivered its findings to the NAB board which then released it publicly. The report found that NAB’s management was complacent and arrogant and this impacted negatively upon its management of regulatory


Westpac tightens again as it struggles to get under interest-only cap

Macroprudential 2.0 is still in the swing as the nation’s largest zero-interest bank struggles get under the 30% cap, via AFR: Westpac Banking Group will today introduce a new range of policies intended to tighten lending by increasing scrutiny of borrowers’ income, the second policy change in a week after revealing its exposure to higher-risk


“Sleaze” Bank stock sinks with its reputation

Jonathon Tepper has a new name for the CBA: And investors are voting with their wallets, hitting new lows: The chart still suggests no support right down to $70 and with the politics getting worse who knows? The under-performance is worsening but the whole sector appears increasingly tarnished: Meanwhile today, Dalian has managed to ease


Evil Anna releases Fake Banking Trust Index

From Evil Anna today: The Australian Bankers’ Association has today released new research that measures and tracks community trust and confidence in banks. The research conducted by international firm Edelman Intelligence will be used by the industry to assess the impact of the wide ranging reform agenda currently underway across the sector. “The research shows


Did Terror Bank just buy an APRA inquiry into itself?

From the Wet Lettuce: The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) today announced its intention to establish an independent prudential inquiry into the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) focusing on governance, culture and accountability frameworks and practices within the group. The prudential inquiry will be conducted by an independent panel, to be appointed by APRA. Subject


How CBA invited in the criminals

By Nathan Lynch of Thomson Reuters. By early 2015, Commonwealth Bank’s investment in the rollout of hundreds of intelligent deposit machines across Australia was paying off handsomely. The country’s largest financial institution was reporting bumper profits. The gradual automation of its teller services, via this new kit, along with the push towards 24/7 banking, was


And now for a Terror Bank class action

From Domainfax: The Commonwealth Bank faces a potential investor class action over its disclosure of more than 53,000 alleged breaches of anti-money laundering laws, following a sharp fall in its share price when the scandal emerged earlier this month. Plaintiff law firm Maurice Blackburn and litigation funder IMF Bentham on Tuesday said it would investigate a potential class action on behalf of CBA shareholders, citing the


Household credit stress rises

Via Credit Suisse comes confirmation of what we’re seeing RMBS for household credit stress: ■ Mortgage & card past-due ratios and mortgage impaireds ratios rose in the latest quarter, with loss rates stable in mortgages but rising in cards. Whilst acknowledging seasonality, a slowing Western Australian economy, and residual impacts of Cyclone Debbie, mortgage past-due