Comyn claims ACCC exaggeration but welcomes probe

Original article by Bo Seo
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 12 & 17 : 17-Oct-19

Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO Matt Comyn and chair Catherine Livingstone are supportive of a new inquiry into mortgage pricing. However, Comyn has questioned the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s claim that the pricing gap for new and existing customers of the nation’s major banks is 32 basis points. He says this gap is significantly lower than 30 basis points at CBA. Livingstone notes that the bank takes into account the interests of borrowers, deposit-holders and shareholders when deciding upon its mortgage pricing.

CORPORATES
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY

Bank trusted more than tech: ANZ

Original article by Supratim Adhikari
The Australian – Page: 21 : 17-Oct-19

ANZ Bank’s CEO Shayne Elliott says consumers still generally trust banks more than technology companies such as Google and Facebook. He adds that consumers trust banks to manage their personal data as well as their money, which gives banks an advantage over tech companies. He has also defended the banking sector’s traditional one-size-fits-all model for product pricing, arguing that the targeted pricing strategy of fintechs has its risks.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, GOOGLE INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED

Regionals undercut bigger bank rivals

Original article by Joyce Moullakis, Andrew White
The Australian – Page: 17 & 21 : 16-Oct-19

Analysis by RateCity shows that some of Australia’s regional banks are currently offering much lower variable home loan interest rates than the ‘big four’ bank. However, Victor German of Macquarie Group notes that existing customers at some of the smaller banks are also paying much higher mortgage interest rates than new customers. The mortgage pricing of smaller banks is among the issues that will be examined by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s new inquiry into the sector.

CORPORATES
RATECITY PTY LTD, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, SUNCORP BALANCED PROPERTY FUND, SUNCORP GROUP LIMITED – ASX SUN, BENDIGO AND ADELAIDE BANK LIMITED – ASX BEN, MACQUARIE BANK LIMITED – ASX MBL, BANK OF QUEENSLAND LIMITED – ASX BOQ, AMP BANK LIMITED, ING BANK (AUSTRALIA) LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, JP MORGAN AUSTRALIA LIMITED

AMP to hit costs in bank merger

Original article by Cliona O’Dowd
The Australian – Page: 17 & 23 : 11-Oct-19

Bell Potter analyst Lafitani Sotiriou has questioned AMP’s decision to merge its bank and Australian wealth divisions, suggesting that it is "strategy on the run". Allan Gray Australia CEO Simon Mawhinney in turn says the move raises conflicts of interest concerns. An AMP spokeswoman says the two businesses will have separate financial services licences and will remain separate legal entities after being folded into the new AMP Australia. Alex Wade will be CEO of the combined business.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AMP BANK LIMITED

Savers come out second best as banks quietly slash interest rates on deposits

Original article by Michael Roddan
The Australian – Page: 17 & 27 : 11-Oct-19

Lenders have cut interest rates on term deposits by between one and and 35 basis points since the Reserve Bank cut the official cash rate by 25 basis points on 1 October, according to data from ­RateCity. National Seniors Australia’s chief advocate Ian Henschke notes that a third of its members have their money in term deposits, with interest rates on term deposits now at their lowest since the 1950s. He claims that the federal government is "profiteering off the backs of pensioners", by not reducing the deeming rate.

CORPORATES
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, RATECITY PTY LTD, NATIONAL SENIORS AUSTRALIA LIMITED, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, BENDIGO AND ADELAIDE BANK LIMITED – ASX BEN

Credit raters circle wagons around banks

Original article by James Eyers, James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 11 & 14 : 10-Oct-19

Australia’s banks are under growing scrutiny over their failure to reduce their mortgage interest rates by 0.25 per cent in line with the latest official interest rate cut. However, S&P Global Ratings says banks’ profits and capital buffers may be adversely affected if they yield to political pressure and match the Reserve Bank’s rate cut. S&P adds that this could in turn prompt a review of the banking sector’s credit rating. Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings are also supportive of the banks’ decision to withhold part of the official interest rate cut.

CORPORATES
S&P GLOBAL RATINGS, MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE INCORPORATED, FITCH RATINGS LIMITED, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, IBISWORLD PTY LTD, COPLEY FUND RESEARCH, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

Strong economies need profitable banks, says Wilson

Original article by James Frost, Vesna Poljak, Aleks Vickovich, Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 16 : 9-Oct-19

Wilson Asset Management chairman Geoff Wilson has rejected criticism of Australia’s major banks for failing to pass on the latest official interest rate cut in full. He contends that strong and profitable banks are essential for a strong economy, and he estimates that the sector’s earnings would be $4.5bn-$6bn lower if banks had reduced their mortgage interest rates by 0.75 per cent since June, in line with the Reserve Bank. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank chairman Robert Johanson has also dismissed claims by Prime Minister Scott Morrison that the banks are profiteering by withholding interest rate cuts.

CORPORATES
WILSON ASSET MANAGEMENT, BENDIGO AND ADELAIDE BANK LIMITED – ASX BEN, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIAN FOUNDATION INVESTMENT COMPANY LIMITED – ASX AFI, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

ANZ compo bill jumps to $1.2bn

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 21 : 9-Oct-19

The ANZ Bank has advised that its cash profit for the second half of 2018-19 will be marred by an after-tax charge of $559m due to increased provisions for customer-related remediation. ANZ has now announced a total of $1.22bn in after-tax compensation charges since 2017. Australia’s major banks have set aside a combined $7.6bn pre-tax to compensate customers, and Jarrod Martin of Credit Suisse expects this to increase. ANZ will release its financial results for the year to 30 September in late October.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, CREDIT SUISSE (AUSTRALIA) LIMITED, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, MORGANS FINANCIAL LIMITED, CITIGROUP PTY LTD

More work to do for CBA boss

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 17 & 21 : 8-Oct-19

Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO Matt Comyn is seeking feedback from customers about what it is doing right and areas in which it can improve. He has sent a letter to customers in which he concedes that CBA still has a lot of work to do to restore its reputation in the wake of a series of scandals. Comyn has also written to employees, stating that amongst other things, the bank must keep listening to customers, complete a remediation program and implement the recommendations of the Hayne royal commission. CBA will provide a live stream of its upcoming customer forum in Brisbane.

CORPORATES
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, COMMINSURE

Banks face heat over loyalty tax

Original article by Patrick Durkin, James Frost, Jonathan Shapiro
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 2 : 7-Oct-19

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims has suggested that the nation’s banks are trying to "dud" their loyal customers. Sims, who is hoping Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will grant the ACCC’s request to conduct an inquiry into the competitive strength of the big banks, was commenting on the gap between mortgage interest rates offered to new borrowers and those offered to existing customers; the gap is generally half a percentage point. The banks have argued in private that it is not possible to offer the same competitive rates to all borrowers.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIAN BANKING ASSOCIATION, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, EVANS AND PARTNERS PTY LTD, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG, DELOITTE TOUCHE TOHMATSU LIMITED