Greedy banks protect profits: ACCC

Original article by Cliona O’Dowd, David Ross
The Australian – Page: 15 : 28-Apr-20

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has released the interim report of its Home Loan Price Inquiry. It has concluded that the nation’s four major banks failed to pass on the full 75 basis point reduction in the cash rate during 2019 in order to protect their profits. The ACCC also found that existing home loan customers tend to pay higher interest rates than new borrowers. Steve Mickenbecker of Canstar says it is a ‘lethargy tax’ rather than a ‘loyalty tax’, and the onus should be on existing customers to actively request a lower interest rate.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, CANSTAR PTY LTD

CBA delays all SME repayments

Original article by Max Maddison
The Australian – Page: 17 : 24-Apr-20

The Council of Small Business Organisations’ deputy chairman David Gandolfo has welcomed the Commonwealth Bank’s decision to defer loan repayments for many small business customers until the end of June. The loan deferral will automatically apply to small business accounts that have lending limits of less than $5m, although these customers can opt to continue making repayments. Business customers with loans of between $5m and $10m will be able to defer repayments for six months due to the impact of the pandemic.

CORPORATES
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, COUNCIL OF SMALL BUSINESS ORGANISATIONS OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED

$A doing its job to help stabilise the economy

Original article by Sarah Turner, Jonathan Shapiro
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 31 : 22-Apr-20

The Reserve Bank of Australia has bought $47bn worth of federal and state government bonds since 20 March. The central bank has progressively reduced its daily bond purchases from $5bn to just $500m since then, and it will now buy federal government bonds three times a week and state bonds just once a week. Meanwhile, RBA governor Philip Lowe says the Australian dollar fell more sharply than he had expected in March. It reached a low of $US0.5741 and has since recovered to around $US0.63. Lowe says the currency has been a "great shock-absorber" for the domestic economy over the last three decades.

CORPORATES
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

NAB reveals $1.4bn writedowns

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 16 : 21-Apr-20

National Australia Bank has advised that its cash profit for the six months to 31 March will be marred by writedowns totalling $1.14bn. This includes a $188m provision for customer remediation and an impairment charge of $742m associated with its software capitalisation policy. Westpac recently warned that its half-year results will include some $1.43bn worth of write-downs. Meanwhile, analysts expect the major banks’ loan losses and dividend payouts to be a key focus for investors when their interim results are released.

CORPORATES
NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ

No sign of breakout in inflation: King

Original article by Adam Creighton
The Australian – Page: 13 & 16 : 20-Apr-20

The Reserve Bank of Australia has been actively buying state and federal government bonds in response to the coronavirus crisis. Former Bank of England governor Mervin King contends that the risk of a sharp rise in inflation will remain low if central banks rather than governments continue to have responsibility for deciding how much money to print. King has also described modern monetary theory as "nonsense", while he has praised regulators in Australia, the UK and New Zealand for advising banks to delay their dividend payments.

CORPORATES
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, BANK OF ENGLAND

Record bond deal shows confidence in Australia: PM

Original article by Sarah Turner, Vesna Poljak, Jonathan Shapiro
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 29 : 17-Apr-20

The Australian Office of Financial Management has revealed that domestic investors accounted for 68.1 per cent of the federal government’s $13bn bond deal. Banks in turn bought more than 50 per cent of the new bonds, while investment managers accounted for 25 per cent of the issuance. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the strong support for the bond deal demonstrates that investors are confident that Australia will be able to repay its debt.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY. OFFICE OF FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

Westpac flags $1.4b first-half hit, expects more to come

Original article by James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 15 & 18 : 15-Apr-20

Westpac has advised that its financial accounts for the first half of fiscal 2020 will include provisions of $1,030m associated with Austrac’s money-laundering probe. Westpac will also increase its provisions for customer remediation and legal costs by $260m. The financial hit will reduce Westpac’s common equity tier 1 capital ratio by about 30 basis points, to 10.5 per cent. Dermot Ryan of AMP Capital expects Australian banks that report their half-year results in May to slash their dividend payouts.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AMP CAPITAL INVESTORS LIMITED

Reserve Bank now important bond player

Original article by Sarah Turner
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 31 : 15-Apr-20

Su-Lin Ong of RBC Capital Markets says the federal government has issued some $48bn worth of bonds so far in 2019-20. She estimates that the Reserve Bank of Australia has bought about $36bn worth of these government bonds in the last three weeks, as part of its quantitative easing program. Westpac’s Damien McColough notes that the central bank has emerged as one of the largest bond fund managers in the local market. Meanwhile, Ong says government bond issuance for 2019-20 could potentially top $160bn.

CORPORATES
RBC CAPITAL MARKETS, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC

Bank shareholders face $7bn hit

Original article by Michael Roddan
The Australian – Page: 13 & 16 : 9-Apr-20

Shares in Australia’s major banks retreated on 8 April, after the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority asked them to consider delaying or reducing their dividend payments due to the coronavirus crisis. The Bank of Queensland has already advised that it will defer its interim dividend, while investors in Westpac, National Australia Bank and the ANZ Bank were slated to receive a combined $7bn worth of dividends in May. Commonwealth Bank shareholders recently received their interim dividends.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, BANK OF QUEENSLAND LIMITED – ASX BOQ, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA

Reserve Bank likely to slow bond buying

Original article by Jonathan Shapiro
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 30 : 7-Apr-20

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s quantitative easing program commenced on 20 March, and the central bank initially began purchasing $5bn worth of commonwealth government bonds per day. It has bought some $31bn of such bonds to date, including $10bn in the week ended 3 April. The RBA has been gradually been winding back its bond buying, and Damien McColough of Westpac says that even if its current momentum is maintained it would hold about $80bn worth of government bonds by the end of June. This would constitute about 30 per cent of the government bonds on issue. The RBA has also bought some $5bn worth of state government bonds.

CORPORATES
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC