Banking & Finance


Westpac to curb property investor lending

Clancy Yeates 6:15 AM   Westpac will apply tougher tests to new property investor borrowers when assessing how they would cope with higher interest rates.

Westpac profit sparks bank sell-off

Westpac chief executive Brian Hartzer acknowledged banks face "headwinds".

Clancy Yeates 12:15 AM   Westpac has triggered a sell-off in bank shares after it disappointed investors by delivering the smallest increase in its interim dividend in five years and reporting no growth in annual profits.

ANZ confirms sale of Esanda

ANZ says Esanda Dealer Finance sale documents are due out later this month.

Joyce Moullakis 6:59 PM   ANZ Banking Group has confirmed it intends to offload its Esanda Dealer Finance unit, in an auction that may garner local and offshore interest and see the lender reap proceeds in the order of $1.5 billion.

Westpac dividend reinvestment to boost tier 1 capital ratio

Westpac announced it would offer a 1.5 per cent discount and partly underwrite the dividend reinvestment plan to add $2 billion of capital.

James Eyers 5:45 PM   Westpac will raise an additional $2 billion of capital through a discounted share issue under its dividend reinvestment plan, as the bank seeks to arrest a decline in its closely watched common equity tier 1 capital ratio.

AFA aims for joint response to Trowbridge life insurance report

The Association of Financial Advisers says it will meet a deadline to respond to the Trowbridge report.

Ruth Liew 3:15 PM   The Association of Financial Advisers is confident it would meet a deadline set by the government to respond to the Trowbridge report, as the lobby group continues to seek answers to the problems in Australia's troubled life insurance sector.

Westpac first-half profit flat at $3.8b

Westpac's chief executive, Brian Hartzer, reports his first set of earnings since taking office.

Clancy Yeates 9:17 AM   Westpac has delivered half-year profits of $3.78 billion, unchanged from the same half last year, and will pay a dividend of 93c a share.

Suncorp picks Cameron over Millener for top job

Mark Milliner, personal insurance chief at Suncorp Group, was widely touted as a strong candidate for the CEO role after being with the firm for 20 years.

Ruth Liew   Mark Milliner, the respected personal insurance chief at Suncorp Group, admits he is disappointed at missing out on the top job at the insurance giant after Michael Cameron was revealed as the new chief executive of the $17 billion company.

Visa warns spending, innovation to suffer from fee cut

Visa says the RBA's planned cap on card fees will reduce consumer spending and innovation.

Shaun Drummond   Visa warns a cap on the estimated $2.5 billion in fees merchants pay banks to issue credit cards will transfer their cost to consumers and stymie payments innovation, but it supports proposed surcharge bans.

First-half bank profits to top $15 billion

Profit results from the big banks will this week provide further detail on the sector's underlying health.

Clancy Yeates   Australia's major banks are predicted to notch up more than $15 billion in first-half profits, helped by housing-led credit growth and historically low levels of loan losses.

Thorburn asks for investor faith

In October, NAB chief Andrew Thorburn noted NAB Wealth, which includes MLC and rich investor arm JBWere, had achieved cash earnings growth of 13.4 per cent.

Elizabeth Knight   It was just before Christmas that NAB's intense, religious, socially coiled chief executive, Andrew Thorburn sought out his most famous predecessor, Don Argus.

Comments 1

NAB sells more of Great Western as market wants plan on Clydesdale exit

NAB  is selling the bank's foreign assets to focus on Australia and NZ.

James Eyers   NAB will receive $US430 million ($544 million) from the sale of the second tranche of US subsidiary Great Western, after upsizing the share offer and pricing the deal at $US21.50 apiece overnight.

Craig Dunn joins Westpac board

Craig Dunn, chairman of Stone & Chalk, has been appointed to the Westpac board.

James Eyers   Ex-AMP CEO Craig Dunn has joined Westpac's board after serving on the financial system inquiry panel looking at the future of Australia's banking industry.

Four lessons for the Big Four


James Thomson   After the stellar run the banks have enjoyed it's unlikely many investors will cash in their chips after this week's sell-off. But life ain't going to get easier for our lenders: Here's what they need to grapple with.

Comments 13

Henderson aims to double funds under management

"Markets permitting, the outcome of successful delivery of our plan would see us double our Assets under management by the end of 2018," Henderson Group chief executive Andrew Formica says.

Ruth Liew   Henderson Group is on track to double its assets under management by 2018 to around £180 billion, as the dual-listed fund manager remains ahead of its target on growth and acquisitions.

Bank shares plunge $20b on fears of APRA action

APRA chair Wayne Byres has raised concerns over bank lending.

Jonathan Shapiro and Clancy Yeates   Almost $20 billion has been wiped off the value of the big four banks by sharemarket investors this week as concerns mount that the prudential watchdog will take aggressive action against the threat from rampant property speculation.

The CEOs and economists Mike Smith follows

ANZ chief executive officer Mike Smith.

Ben Woodhead   ANZ chief Mike Smith has become one of the few Australian CEOs on Twitter. Here's a short list of who he's following.

APRA will act 'sooner rather than later' on bank capital


James Eyers   The banking regulator is willing to act "sooner rather than later" to implement the financial system inquiry's call for the big four banks and Macquarie to hold higher capital against mortgages, a move that could depress returns.

APRA rejects 'bad apples' defence

"I think there's something more significant here that the industry needs to look at, and I think the industry is looking at it," says APRA chairman Wayne Byres.

Clancy Yeates   Revelations of misconduct in the financial services sector cannot be blamed on "bad apples", APRA chairman Wayne Byres says.

BT Investment targets the world as Aussie fee cuts bite

BT Investment's Emilio Gonzalez ... 'Offshore the discussion is performance first and fees afterwards.'

Shaun Drummond   Emilio Gonzalez, the managing director of Westpac-owned fund manager BT Investment Management, said it will continue its global expansion to offset fee cuts in Australia driven by reforms to the superannuation sector.

Banking & Wealth Summit

Costello says stop messing with super

Peter Costello says increasing taxes on superannuation, which is a long term savings vehicle, usually involves taking now at a cost to be borne sometime in the future.

Ruth Liew   The chairman of the Future Fund, Peter Costello, has urged politicians to stop messing around with the country's $1.9 trillion superannuation system, warning increasing super taxes will worsen the burden of the age pension with younger Australians forced to bear the cost of the tinkering.

IAG hit by $300m storm claims bill

Storm hits Sydney.

Ruth Liew   The insurer has fielded about 30,000 claims from the storms and floods that pummelled New South Wales last week, forcing it to trim its insurance margin forecasts.

Banking & Wealth Summit

Costello says stop messing with super

"Increasing taxes on superannuation, which is a long term savings vehicle, usually involves taking now at a cost to be borne sometime in the future," says Peter Costello.

Ruth Liew and Clancy Yeates   The chairman of the Future Fund, Peter Costello, has urged politicians in power to stop messing around with the country's $1.9 trillion superannuation system.

Comments 18

APRA backs more super fund mergers

APRA member Helen Rowell at the AFR Banking and Wealth Summit.

Clancy Yeates   The financial regulator is stepping up pressure on some superannuation funds to consider merging, as trustees face tougher rules forcing them to decide if members would be better served through greater scale.

IAG faces $300m bill after NSW storms

Last week's storms have blown out the number of claims from insurance customers.

The damaging storms that tore through parts of NSW have left Insurance Australia Group facing a $300 million bill.

Comments 1

NAB to cut stake in US bank to 37pc

NAB had flagged in August that it would sell its holdings in Bancorp as market conditions allowed.

National Australia Bank will sell 18 million shares in its US subsidiary Great Western Bancorp, reducing its stake to just over a third.

Comments 1

Lizard's Zell says don't ignore private equity exits

Lizard Investors founder Leah Zell looks for good companies, going cheaply on the market because of their PE owners' undeserved reputation of selling out at the best price.

Jonathan Shapiro   Leah Zell, Chicago's renowned small cap fund manager, says buy-out firm exits via public floats are throwing up some compelling opportunities.

The spend-happy generation leading the way in credit-card debt

Generation X has been pinpointed as the biggest contributor to the near-record national debt on credit cards.

Esther Han   They owe the biggest amounts on credit cards - and they're the least likely to pay off their balance in full each month.

Comments 42

Narev calls for tougher rules for banking's new breed

People may not be aware of the risks they are taking on when investing using services such as crowdfunding, CBA's Ian Narev says.

Clancy Yeates   Commonwealth Bank chief executive Ian Narev has warned of the importance of ensuring new rivals can manage liquidity.

PIMCO calls on banks to do their bit and raise capital

As house prices continue to soar above agent predictions, disappointed buyers suspect something more sinister than market fizz: deliberate underquoting.

Patrick Commins   PIMCO's head of portfolio management in Australia worries that household debt is running out of control, with much of it linked to the property market.

Comments 4

Banking & Wealth Summit

Bank value at risk "if there is a perception you are screwing your clients"

The report released on Thursday by ASIC could pave the way for further compensation payouts.

Sally Rose   Commonwealth Bank of Australia board member has spoken out about the potential destruction of shareholder value if the banking industry does not demonstrate how it is taking customer complaints seriously.

Comments 1