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Articles on Banks

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Banks behaving badly: ensuring banks’ sustainability reports are accurate and credible will go some way in restoring public confidence. AAP

To be good corporate citizens, banks must improve their sustainability reporting

“Events over the past couple of years have raised profound questions about the ways in which banks and businesses contribute to society. For both to play their full part, they must restore trust and become…
Former Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond leaves the Treasury Select Committee after giving evidence in London. The LIBOR-fixing scandal is the latest in a long line of dubious and illegal schemes.

Durable change a long way off for scandal-ridden UK banking system

The role of Barclays bank in manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) continues to dominate international financial media. The bank has already attracted fines from regulators in the UK and…
Pay it down - Treasurer Wayne Swan goes through his now-usual exhortation to banks to pass on today’s Reserve Bank 25 basis point rate cut in full. AAP

Reserve Bank cuts rate to 3.5% - experts respond

Amid the tumultuous economic climate in the US and Europe - not to mention the tumbling fortunes of our sharemarket - the Reserve Bank of Australia has followed market sentiment and cut the official cash…
Graeme Samuel and Stephen King: two of Australia’s most senior regulators sit down together for The Conversation.

Graeme Samuel: We’ve lost principled, analytical debate in this country

What happens when two of Australia’s best known former competition regulators sit down together and talk about the world? A wide-ranging discussion on the state of Australia’s political debate, xenophobia…
Moves by ANZ last week to hike their interest rates was criticised by Treasurer Wayne Swan: but historically, banks have often been at odds with governments. AAP

Never mind the miners: here’s the bankers

In Australia’s economic history, there always been tension between Labor and the banks. My grandfather was an adviser to wartime Labor Treasurer and Prime Minister, Joseph Benedict Chifley, better known…
If one of Australia’s big four banks were to fail, it would be disastrous for the economy and the financial system. AAP

A system at risk: the case for regulatory overhaul in Australia’s banking sector

The focus of the statement by the Australia-New Zealand Shadow Financial Regulatory Committee asks whether the systemic importance of the big four Australasian banks warrants special regulatory treatment…
The proposed Volcker Rule, which will ban proprietary trading by commercial banks, has raised the ire of Wall Street. Bête à Bon-Dieu

Risks or rewards? What the Volcker Rule means for Wall Street

The agenda of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Annual Summer School in Sydney was dominated by discussions on how to reduce systemic risk. The noted increase in the regulatory perimeter…
Decoupled: The Reserve Bank of Australia’s decision to hold interest rates has been ignored by the banks. AAP

Rates of wrath: understanding the Big Four’s actions on interest rates

Last week, the Reserve Bank defied market expectations to announce the 4.25% cash rate would remain unchanged. But the surprise decision by Australia’s Big Four banks to act independently of the Reserve…
Three of Australia’s Big Four banks have opted to offshore part of their financial operations to Asia. AAP

More offshoring of Australian jobs? Can you bank on it?

Reports of more offshoring of jobs from Australia to other countries are, seemingly, a daily occurrence. Such reports include, for example, the manufacturing of cars and their components and aspects of…
Reducing the finance costs of housing will also reduce house prices. Flickr/kennymatic

A house for half the cost? Here’s how

Welcome to Safe as Houses, a series delving into a topic close to the heart of many Australians – property. This is not a series on where the market might be heading. Instead we aim to explore how we view…
ANZ and NAB have cut their mortgage rates. Will the other two major banks follow suit? AAP

Are banks gouging by not passing on interest rate cut?

ANZ and National Australia Bank have passed on the Reserve Bank of Australia’s 0.25% interest rate cut to mortgage holders, lowering their standard variable rates. Treasurer Wayne Swan called on the big…
Westpac chief Gail Kelly has warned about “the contagion effect” from Europe.

The contagion effect: how much will Australian banks be buffeted by Europe?

Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly this week warned about Australian banks are vulnerable to “the contagion effect” of Europe’s ongoing financial woes, after the Commonwealth Bank of Australia delayed…
Can we expect more interest rate cuts this year?

Interest rate cut: experts respond

The Reserve Bank of Australia has cut the official cash interest rate by 25 basis points, from 4.75% to 4.5%, in a move matching most economists’ expectations. It was the first cut since April 2009. Westpac…
Banks such as NAB are reportedly positioning themselves to use covered bonds to raise funds.

Banks want covered bonds, but could taxpayers be left with the risk?

Australian banks are positioning themselves to take advantage of new laws allowing them to use the new instrument of covered bonds to raise funds. Our large banks especially have enthusiastically welcomed…
UBS chief Oswald Gruebel has stepped down after a rogue trader cost the bank $US2.3 billion. AAP

As UBS boss quits over rogue trader, banks must face some risk realities

The chief executive of Swiss banking giant UBS, Oswald Gruebel, has quit following revelations of a $US2.3 billion fraud by “rogue trader” Kweku Adoboli. But the news will come as cold comfort for investors…
Well-intentioned credit protection regulations could make it hard for some people to secure loans. AAP

Responsible lending doesn’t have to be restrictive

The Federal Government has taken significant steps in recent years to protect consumers from predatory lending practices, such as very high-interest “payday loans”. An unfortunate, though surely unintentional…
The British banking sector is facing a major shakeup in the wake of the global crisis. AAP

Three years after UK’s banking crisis, will reforms deliver?

Major proposals designed to reform Britain’s banking sector after its spectacular 2008 crash have been described as one of the biggest shakeups in a generation. But they are likely be inadequate for a…
Surprisingly few people change banks, believing it is more complicated than it actually is. AAP

Despite your fears, dumping your bank won’t end in tears

Treasurer Wayne Swan is fond of telling anyone who will listen how much he wants bank customers to “walk down the road and get a better deal”. This sums up the government’s vision for reforming the banking…

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