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: 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


Bank offshore funding collapses into RBA’s arms

Via a smug RBA putting the cue in the rack. Christopher Kent: Introduction In the early stages of the pandemic, there was extreme uncertainty about how much economic activity would decline and how long the economic disruption would last. It was also uncertain how much support would be provided by monetary and fiscal authorities. And


ASIC opens way for banking standards re-collapse

The more things change and all of that. Via Banking Day: Consumer groups and community legal centres have called for responsible lending law reform in the wake of ASIC’s decision not to take its case over Westpac’s alleged breaches of responsible lending any further. Late last month, the Full Federal Court rejected ASIC’s appeal against


What drives Australian mortgage defaults?

Michelle Bergmann from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has released research on the drivers of Australian mortgage defaults. The paper contends that two pre-requisites need to be met before a mortgage holder defaults: a reduction in earnings, resulting in homeowners unable to meet monthly repayments; and negative equity. Below is the summary: What causes


RBA and Treasury greenlight predatory lending

Via the AFR: The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has decided not to appeal to the High Court its case against Westpac for alleged responsible lending failures, after the heads of the Reserve Bank of Australia and Treasury both privately warned it would exacerbate economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19. Sources told The Australian Financial Review


UBS: SME calamity to smash banks

Via the excellent Jonathon Mott at UBS: Direct exposure to small businesses – 18% of SME book in deferral Limited disclosure is available breaking down the 220,000 business loans (total ~$60bn) that are currently on loan repayment deferral until Sept/Oct (or Mar-21). ANZ and WBC provided a broad industry breakdown of their deferred business loans,


Loan deferrals another $4bn in bank profits gone

Via Banking Day: Extended loan repayment deferrals could cost the big banks anywhere from A$700 million to $1.1 billion in lost revenue, according to new analysis. Macquarie Securities said the extension of loan repayment deferrals for another four months, along with the extension of APRA’s regulatory concessions, gives the banks extra time to deal with


SME loan scheme that doesn’t lend expanded to not lend more

Straight out of Yes Minister this one: Small employers will be given greater access to a $40 billion loan scheme to help them through the recession when the federal government overhauls its flagship JobKeeper payment this week. The expanded loan scheme will offer companies four times the amounts previously allowed up to a new cap


Does Australia want or need to be the new HK?

Via the AFR: The federal government will consider tax and regulatory concessions to help attract capital and skilled workers fleeing Hong Kong and to make Australia an international financial services hub. The push by Liberal senator Andrew Bragg and financial services leaders for a regional financial centre in Sydney is being given early consideration by