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Banking & Finance

Bank of Queensland gears up for battle

CLANCY YEATES Bank of Queensland chief executive Jon Sutton✓ has vowed to lift the bank's low rate of home loan growth, in the face of competition that he says is near the most ferocious he has seen.

Banking

UBS upgrades NAB, Westpac despite higher capital risk

All of Australia’s big four banks and Macquarie are able to use their own internal models to generate risk weights, which average around 16 per cent for mortgages, while all other banks have to use standardised models that currently result in an average risk weighting on housing loans of 35 per cent.

James Eyers Australian banks will look relatively weaker if the global banking regulator goes through with plans to standardise banks’ approach to risk, UBS banking analyst Jonathan Mott says.

Macquarie fares better than peers through diversifying

Demand for Macquarie's services has risen in line with market volatility.

CLANCY YEATES Macquarie Group appears to be bucking the weakness engulfing rivals such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Bank of America.

Finance

QBE to sell off North American assets in $US300m deal

Under the agreement, QBE will get $US217 million upfront with the balance payable over five years.

Ruth Liew QBE will sell agency businesses in North America to Alliant Insurance Services for about $US300 million ($366 million) as the insurance giant seeks to trim the complexities around its business.

Finance

ANZ gets set for Esanda auction, $16.2b loans on block

The ANZ believes Labor's legislation will improve the quality of advice and protect consumers from poor advice.

Joyce Moullakis ANZ Banking Group is preparing to kick off a sale process for its vehicle and equipment finance business Esanda, which has $16.2 billion in loans, providing further potential action in the ­financial services deal landscape.

Banking

NAB names new Clydesdale chief

NAB Bank

James Thomson National Australia Bank has named British banker David Duffy as the new chief executive of its Clydesdale Bank subsidiary, as speculation mounts about Nab’s potentially “imminent” exit from its troubled British operations.

Banking

Upbeat view on the major Australian banks

Banks in Scandinavia are joining the Danish government in trying to persuade offshore investors that the Nordic country isn't about to copy Switzerland and drop its euro peg.

CLANCY YEATES Stockbroker Charlie Aitken is taking a more upbeat view on the major Australian banks, saying the sector's high dividends makes it a good bet in an environment of record-low yields.

Banking

OzForex shares slump after Westpac split

A Westpac spokesman said the bank was ending its relationship with OzForex reluctantly, and the move was influenced by increasingly tough regulatory requirements.

CLANCY YEATES OzForex shares fell sharply this morning after it said Westpac had ended its relationship with the payments company as part of a wider move to exit the remittance sector.

Macquarie Group flags profit jump of up to 20%

Pressure rises on Macquarie: The market watchdog says the wealth manager will send out 160,000 letters to clients, inviting them to raise concerns about the quality of advice.

Perry Williams and James Eyers Macquarie Bank expects its full-year result to surge by between 10 and 20 per cent due to improved trading conditions and the lower Australian dollar.

Finance

Fund managers ready for volatility after Swiss surprise

“As a fund manager, you need to keep an eye on the cascade effect over the next couple of weeks – that’s going to be a bigger dynamic for your ­portfolio.

Ruth Liew Global equities fund managers are bracing for increased volatility in their portfolios and revisiting their currency hedging strategies after the Swiss National Bank stunned the world when it abandoned its cap on the Swiss franc.

Banks slice deposit rates on online savings accounts

Major lenders say banking costs are being pushed up by new regulations. Illustration: Chris Pearce.

CLANCY YEATES Banks are slicing interest rates on popular online savings accounts, as competition for deposits wanes and costs are pushed up by new regulations. Major lenders including ANZ, Westpac, and HSBC have cut various rates on online saver products this month, continuing the recent trend of falling returns.

Banking

NAB signs deal with India's biggest bank

The memorandum of understanding, the Indian bank's first with an Australian lender, is intended to increase cooperation in project finance, migrant banking and international payments between banks.

CLANCY YEATES National Australia Bank is seeking to lift its exposure to the fast-growing Indian economy, as the government pushes for financial services to be part of any free trade agreement.

Shares

NAB stock the pick of the bunch but overall outlook for banks uncertain

NAB

Bianca Hartge-Hazelman National Australia Bank is now the top banking stock pick at Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley amid predictions that big four banks could briefly outperform the market in the first quarter before uncertainty sets in.

Comment

Entrenched power of the banks being challenged by P2P lending

Melbourne Express.

CLANCY YEATES Peer-to-peer lenders have posted spectacular growth overseas. How big a threat are they to local banks?

Banking

Banks brace for sluggish loan growth as business borrowing falls in December quarter

Banks want to make the most of consumer data to provide what 'data native' people expect.

CLANCY YEATES Business credit growth looks unlikely to pick up from its sluggish pace over the coming months, according to new figures showing demand for loans slowed late last year.

Bad debts tipped to hurt Australian bank earnings

bank

CLANCY YEATES Australian bank profit growth is likely to be slowed down this year by higher bad-debt charges and hot competition for customers, a new report from Fitch Ratings says.

Banking

Investment bankers anticipate better bonuses following bumper year for IPOs

Investment bankers

Joyce Moulakis Investment bankers will have more spring in their step in 2015 amid expectations of moderately better bonuses on average in January and February, helped by selective hiring and healthier fee income at many firms.

Cash rate

Commonwealth Bank forecasts cash rate will hold

'It is now quite likely that the Reserve Bank will continue to sit on the sidelines' said CBA economist Michael Blythe.

STEPHEN CAUCHI Commonwealth Bank has joined a growing number of forecasters predicting that the official cash rate of 2.5 per cent will stay on hold in 2015.

Financial Advice

Suncorp firm under ASIC scrutiny over 'deficiencies' in insurance advice

The corporate watchdog has imposed new conditions on Guardian Advice, after an investigation uncovered

GEORGIA WILKINS The corporate regulator has slapped new licence conditions on Suncorp's life insurance advisory firm Guardian Advice, after it hired several advisers from failed firms.

Banking

NAB customers in the dark as online banking shuts down

NAb logo

Ruth Liew National Australia Bank’s internet and telephone banking services are now starting to come back online after customers were left in the lurch when they were knocked offline on Tuesday morning.

Banking

ANZ traders sidelined during ASIC investigation

Several ANZ traders have been suspended by ASIC.

Jonathan Shapiro One of ANZ Banking Group’s most senior traders has been suspended during an investigation by the corporate watchdog into possible manipulation of the bank bill swap rate.

Disgruntled CBA customers still waiting on compo scheme

Commonwealth Bank

GEORGIA WILKINS The Commonwealth Bank has been accused of deliberately delaying a compensation scheme for thousands of potential victims of its scandal-ridden financial planning arm to avoid hefty payouts.

Banking

Australians to cancel a million credit cards

The most common place to lose track of the plastic was in the home.

Australians are expected to cancel almost a million credit cards during the Christmas and New Year period.

Fraudsters target banks with National Relay Service scam

Some shareholders want to change the bank's constitution to force it to publish details on the amount of greenhouse gas emissions it is financing via loans and investments.

CLANCY YEATES Fraudsters are using a phone service for people with hearing or speech impairments as part of a scam in which customers' money is stolen by hacking into bank accounts.

Banks

Australian Super calls on banks to assess climate change risk

Australian Super's investment manager for governance, Andrew Gray.

CLANCY YEATES When investors think about risks facing banks, climate change is rarely front of mind. This could be about to change, amid warnings of a "carbon bubble."

Banking

Basel Committee backs Murray inquiry’s recommendations

For several years, the Basel Committee has warned of big variations in risk-weighted capital holdings between advanced accredited banks globally.

Shaun Drummond The Switzerland-based Basel Committee on Banking Supervision is echoing the Murray inquiry’s recommendation to set a limit on the amount banks can leverage their loan books.

Banks

CBA shares hit record high

Commonwealth Bank

CLANCY YEATES Shares in the Commonwealth Bank have jumped to a record high above $85, as analysts say concerns over the financial system inquiry's impact may have been overstated.

Banking

Pakistan warns banking change will aid terrorists

Pakistan High Commissioner Naela Chohan.

Shaun Drummond Pakistan is worried the shutdown of all the accounts of international money transfer agents by Australian banks will make it harder to stop funds being sent to terrorists.

Finance

UK banking watchdog wants bonuses to fund fines

Royal Bank of Scotland is one of the banks under scrutiny.

James Titcomb The United Kingdom's top financial watchdog has told the banks at the centre of the foreign exchange rigging scandal that their huge fines should be funded out of this year's round of bonuses.

Big overhaul for financial adviser standards

Adele Ferguson dinkus Dinkus

ADELE FERGUSON The financial planning industry is set for a massive overhaul of its education standards, level of professionalism and ethics, after a powerful set of recommendations by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services.

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