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.

42

Captured APRA removes mortgage buffers

As expected: The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has announced that it will proceed with proposed changes to its guidance on the serviceability assessments that authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs) perform on residential mortgage applications. In a letter to ADIs issued today, APRA confirmed its updated guidance on residential mortgage lending will no longer expect them

16

Evil Anna opposes responsible lending

And I thought “Evil” Anna Bligh had disappeared. But no, via Banking Day: The banking industry is opposed to key parts of ASIC’s proposed overhaul of its guidance on responsible lending conduct, criticising it as a move away from principles-based regulation to a more prescriptive approach, and claiming it will disadvantage small financial institutions and

26

Banks slam ASIC for suggesting they do their job

ASIC wants banks to stop or augment their use of the Household Expenditure Measure (HEM) but the banks have expressed their disdain in new submissions to the regulator released today: WBC: “Accurately verifying basic and discretionary living expenses using transactional account data is currently not feasible and in Westpac’s experience, would be of limited value.”

0

Yawn: Of course banks won’t pass on full rate cut

Why would they? The so called “political pressure” to do so is gone. ScoMo and Recessionberg are banking and property patsies. As well, with each new interest rate cut below 1.5% net interest margins get squeezed. Formerly from Goldman: …if the cash rate was to fall below 1.50%, every additional rate cut thereafter would shave

3

How to comfort a banking psycho

Recently we saw this, via the AFR: The psychologist inserted by the corporate regulator into boardroom discussions of more than 20 blue-chip companies including Qantas, Woolworths and AMP warns that Australia’s financial sector culture is broken. Elizabeth Arzadon, the regulator’s psychologist of choice, also warns that resistance by boards to public criticism is a mark of

6

Big specufestor banks rev up mortgages

APRA is out with monthly banking statistics for May. Here is the raw data for investment loans: ANZ CBA MQG NAB WBC BOQ BEN SUN May-19 77473 133400 12532 104681 153096 11320 12932 11694 Apr-19 78018 133093 12465 105036 152588 11332 12851 11697 Mar-19 78470 132904 12372 105379 152393 11333 12772 11724 Feb-19 78936 132916

8

ASIC to pursue responsible lending public hearings?

The RBA and APRA may never have escaped capture but is ASIC running free and wild? Via Martin North: In a keynote address by ASIC Chair, James Shipton at Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) event in Melbourne yesterday, it appears the regulator will hold public hearings about responsible lending practices. He said that ASIC was

6

Stuffed Aussie banks retreat from offshore debt

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) yesterday released its National Financial Accounts for the March quarter, which revealed a 2.9% quarterly decline in Australian banks’ gross external liabilities (offshore borrowings), and a 0.2% decrease over the year. One Name Paper (-$21 billion), Bonds (-$10 billion) and Deposits (-$9 billion) drove the

10

Angry APRA wet lettuce slaps Westpac

Yesterday we saw regulatory capture out in the open at the AFR: Westpac has unleashed a fresh wave of property lending by relaxing serviceability conditions on low risk home loans, immediately increasing the borrowing capacity of aspiring home owners by as much as 8 per cent. A spokesman for Westpac confirmed the policy change saying credit officers

31

Westpac slices off a head of APRA wet lettuce

Via the AFR: Westpac has unleashed a fresh wave of property lending by relaxing serviceability conditions on low risk home loans, immediately increasing the borrowing capacity of aspiring home owners by as much as 8 per cent. A spokesman for Westpac confirmed the policy change saying credit officers would now have the discretion to approve principal

30

Aussie banks run by psychos

Honestly, our regulators are the biggest pack of no-hopers, via the AFR: The psychologist inserted by the corporate regulator into boardroom discussions of more than 20 blue-chip companies including Qantas, Woolworths and AMP warns that Australia’s financial sector culture is broken. Elizabeth Arzadon, the regulator’s psychologist of choice, also warns that resistance by boards to

17

Interest only loans swing from downside to upside risk for house prices

APRA released quarterly ADI property exposures yesterday. It is a great guide to many things but I use it mostly to track interest only mortgages. The good news is that the interest only mortgage bubble that drove the last leg up in Australian house prices is now massively de-risked. The March quarter saw IO mortgage

16

Former APRA/ASIC executive slams the “farce of fake regulation”

Dr Wilson N. Sy, – the former head of research for APRA, and executive at ASIC and the Australian Treasury – has published a paper attacking the “farce of fake regulation” after it was exposed by the banking royal commission. Below is the extract: The revelations from the Hayne Royal Commission (HRC, 2019), limited though

24

Bank of Mum and Dad shut down

Via the AFR: From Monday, NAB said it was introducing new guidelines for Bank of Mum and Dad that “complements the law and, in some areas, sets higher standards”. …Under NAB’s new controls, loan guarantors will face improved scrutiny of their suitability by providing more information about how it will impact their finances and awareness

22

UBS: Tight HEM “material” for Sydney, Melbourne housing rebound

Via the excellent Jonathon Mott at UBS: We estimate the RBA rate cuts and APRA’s removal of its interest rate serviceability floor may improve maximum borrowing capacity by around 14%. However, these changes need to be considered in the context of ongoing tightening, in particular a new HEM methodology, the rollout of Comprehensive Credit Reporting

17

Corrupt APRA waters down bank capital framework

From Martin North [my emphasis]: The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has released its response to the first round of consultation on proposed changes to the capital framework for authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs). The package of proposed changes, first released in February last year, flows from the finalised Basel III reforms, as well as the Financial

2

Little banks hold back rate cuts

Via Banking Day: Bendigo Bank is among many lenders rationing any flow on from last week’s 25 basis point slice in the RBA cash rate. Better or badder at the big end of banking, Bendigo has reasons. On Friday Bendigo said it would decrease its variable interest rates by 0.20 per cent p.a. for all

6

RBNZ Governor destroys banking lobby rentiers (plus APRA and RBA)

By Leith van Onselen At a press conference yesterday, RBNZ Governor, Adrian Orr, publicly lashed the New Zealand Bankers’ Association (NZBA) for claiming that taxpayers should bail the sector out in the event of a crisis, and has used these comments as justification for the RBNZ’s capital reforms. From Interest.co.nz: Orr was answering a question about

8

RBNZ: “imperative” Australia’s banks lift capital levels

By Leith van Onselen The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) has released its latest Financial Stability Report (FSR), which explained why banks need to hold more capital: Domestically, debt levels are high in the household and dairy sectors, leaving borrowers and lenders exposed to unanticipated events. Similar challenges exist globally, given current high public