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.


Son of Wallis takes shape

From Banking Day: Suncorp Metway was “very close” to a bank run at the height of the financial crisis, in 2008, the bank’s former managing director, John Mulcahy, told the Sunday Mail. …The Sunday Mail reported on an October 2008 briefing from the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, obtained under Freedom


UK muscles up on bankster punishment

From the AFR: Senior bankers in Britain could face a jail term of up to seven years if their bank fails and they are subsequently found guilty of “reckless misconduct”, draft laws suggest. The sentence was included in a wide-ranging set of proposed amendments to the Banking Reform Bill which the coalition government is seeking


Term deposits going nowhere

Another data point from today’s RBA credit aggregates is term deposits, which I’m a bit surprised have stopped growing and not recently: Basically as soon as the rate cuts started, term deposit growth stopped. The “other” deposit category accelerated at the same time. Mortgage offset accounts perhaps? A longer term view of term deposits shows


August deposit growth slows sharply

APRA has released its monthly banking statistics this morning and deposit growth slowed sharply in August. The deceleration was driven largely by ongoing falls in the segment in the financial corporations segment. One might speculate that this equates to less idle cash in the banking system: As you can see, the recent rebound in household


Time to bring the regulators to account

Three years ago I coined the term “invisopower” to describe Australian financial regulators’ weirdly opaque post-GFC tightening of bank regulation. The changes wrought by regulators were (and remain) far larger than the public sales pitch of “exceptionalism” trumpeted worldwide. The largest of these changes was APRA’s insistence that banks lend dollar-in dollar-out, deposits for loans, which


Australian banks lobby against macroprudential

By Leith van Onselen In the wake of APRA’s warning to banks not to lower lending standards, and the increased speculation that Australia’s financial regulators might follow New Zealand in adopting macro-prudential controls on higher risk mortgage lending, the head of the Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA) – lobby group for the banking sector – has


APRA slaps wrists as RBNZ pulls a revolver

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) has released a paper warning banks about not letting their lending standards slip. From The Australian: THE banking regulator has moved to head off the build-up of systemic risk as record low interest rates and hot competition fuel property prices, and has warned banks not to


No banker should run the Wallis Inquiry

For some reason the SMH is floating the idea that former CEO of CBA David Murray will head any post-election Wallis Inquiry: The former chief executive of Australia’s biggest bank says he would consider chairing a review of the country’s financial system if he were asked. David Murray, who steered the Commonwealth Bank through privatisation


The bloated business of banking

By Leith van Onselen Following-up on yesterday’s short post questioning the long-term safety and stability of Australia’s banking system, The Australian’s Adam Creighton published an detailed article arguing that Australia’s banks have become far too-big-to-fail, placing taxpayers and the economy at risk of a future financial crisis: LABOR leader Ben Chifley’s quixotic 1947 plan to


ANZ hits its targets

A snippet from Mac Bank on the ANZ result below: Subject: ANZ Bank (ANZ AU) (Outperform) – Using the levers to stay on track Stock:  ANZ AU Name:  ANZ Bank Price:  A$30.36 (at 6:10, 15 Aug 13 GMT) Market Cap (m):  A$83,295 Current valuation (DDM/PE):  A$33.52 12mth price target:  A$35.50 Recommendation:  Outperform Volatility index:  Low Event


CBA not so hot after all

Mac Bank offers an alternative view of the CBA result: CBA ‘s FY13 result came in a little better than expectations at $7.8bn vs MRE$A7.7bn (consensus – $A7.6bn). Majority of the beat was on impairment (17bp vs. our expectation of 23bp) which was driven by a better outcome in BankWest where there were some provision releases, despite 90 days past due


CBA blows ’em away

Commonwealth Bank is out with its annual profit result and has everyone buzzing. Here is BBY: CBA had so much expected of it in this result and it largely delivered: 1.       Income growth was 7% from FY12 to FY13 but a more modest 2.5% from 1H13 to 2H13; 2.       This was achieved through an increase in NIM


Cash for coconuts facility gets a lid

APRA yesterday released its new criteria guidelines for access to the RBA’s Committed Liquidity Facility (CLF), which is designed as the fall back for banks should the global financial system ever seize again. Other nations are forcing banks to hold a prescribed portion of liquid assest in the form of  government bonds. The shortage of


Where are bank regulators taking us?

Deputy Governor of the RBA, Guy Debelle, gave a good speech last night that sensibly provided support for Australia to adopt the structures of global financial re-regulation: The BIS Committee on Global Financial Stability, on which I sit, has published some work on that recently, but there is more to be done. This is just


Bank deposits levy too small?

By Leith van Onselen Despite all of the bleating over the Rudd Government’s proposal to implement a modest levy on deposits to cover the cost of any future bank bailout, an analysis by NAB’s head of fixed income and credit, Michael Bush, has shown that the funds raised would not even cover the costs of


Which banks take a levy earnings hit?

J.P. Morgan has a useful note this morning on the impact of the proposed bank levy: Who Wins and Loses? The introduction of the FCS was intended to ‘level the playing field’ to allow all ADIs to have insured deposits to remove ‘depositor bias’ toward larger financial institutions. However, ironically, the insurance fee relative to


Bank deposit levy well received

There is the usual bleating from the lobby but for the most part Treasurer Chris Bowen’s new bank levy is being well received. Several serious commentators give it the tick of approval. Chris Joye claims it as his own: The political and economic ramifications of the move are interesting. For years I’ve been calling on


AFR botches bank levy numbers

Here’s a quiet correction that’s been issued but not confessed by the AFR. Here the new bank levy story: The proposed levy would be between 0.05 per cent and 0.1 per cent. Presently, the government guarantees deposits up to $250,000 without charging the banks. Here’s the original: The proposed levy is between 0.5 per cent


More on the bank levy

John Kehoe at the AFR has a much better take than the initial reporting on the new bank deposit levy that appears to be coming: While Labor’s move looks like a blatant cash grab as it tries to fill a budget hole ahead of the federal election, there are reasonable economic grounds for charging banks


Bowen to announce bank deposit insurance levy?

The AFR is reporting that the government is set to announce long overdue charges for backstopping banks: The Australian Financial Review has learned that the government’s economic statement, set to be released Friday, will contain a deposit insurance levy as recommended by the Council of Financial Regulators, which will raise funds to underwrite any Australian bank


Deposit growth stabilises

APRA has released its monthly deposit statistics and growth has stabilised over two months now at around 0.7% month on month:   Year on year we are flattish around 6%:   And the trend line continues on up after stalling late last year:


Banks giving back spread on discounts

Another interesting tidbit from Credit Suisse this morning. We all know that banks have been keeping more and more of the spread between the cash rate and mortgage rates over time. And that the likelihood of out-of-cycle interest rate cuts is virtually nil so that the power to maintain net interest margins is not eroded.


Another debenture lender freezes

From the SMH: Victoria-based lender Gippsland Secured Investments has frozen $150 million of savings from mostly local investors, putting the future of savings among thousands of rural Victorians in doubt. The move represents the latest regional lender to come under strain following the collapse last year of Banksia Securities, another debenture house which put $660


RMBS arrears falling with debt servicing costs

A new note from Westpac makes it clear today that although interest rate cuts have so far failed to generate much economic return in traditionally sensitive sectors, they are at least reducing arrears at a good clip. This is good news. Any renewed downwards momentum in property prices will have to come from rising unemployment.


David Murray gives regulators a caning

Former Future Fund chairman and CBA CEO David Murray has given everyone a post-GFC caning this afternoon: “Governments in Europe an the US have not faced up to structural reform and fiscal discipline as they should have and that’s raised the questions of what is the role of the central bank. If central banks think these [quantitative


NAB warns on funding pressures

The emerging debate about bank funding is heating up. The big splash by the Australian Centre for Financial Studies and its Funding the Future project has set things off but NAB wades in today: A senior National Australia Bank exec­utive says global requirements to hold more capital mean banks may not have the funds needed