Bank CEO hits back at Treasurer for ‘bank bashing’

author-avatar By on October 18,2019
Bank CEO hits back at Treasurer for ‘bank bashing’

Photo by David via Adobe Stock

The Chairman and CEO of non-major bank MyState has fired back at the federal government over its criticism of banks not passing on interest rate cuts in full.

“Instead of scoring points by bank bashing the government needs to focus on the harder task of enabling a competitive environment in which more than four banks are able to compete effectively,” MyState CEO Melos Sulicich said at the company’s annual general meeting on Thursday.

His comments come after Treasurer Josh Frydenberg criticised the big four banks for failing to pass on the Reserve Bank’s three recent cash rate cuts in full to home loan borrowers and asking the ACCC to launch an inquiry into mortgage pricing.

Mr Sulicich said the government’s criticism failed to recognise banks needed to balance competing interests.

“Borrowers want the lowest possible interest rates on loans, depositors want the highest interest rate on their deposits and shareholders have a right to expect a reasonable return for their capital that facilitates the whole banking process,” Mr Sulicich said.

While none of the big four banks and very few smaller lenders passed on the October 25 basis point cut to borrowers in full, each of the major banks and many smaller lenders have passed on the entire 25 point cut to their savings accounts rates.

Mr Sulicich said not passing on the full rate cut to home loans was necessary to ensure the “sustainability” of the bank.

“We are operating in a low and falling interest rate environment, the likes of which we have never seen before. This is challenging and our recent decision not to pass on the full rate cut was necessary to ensure the sustainability of our business,” he said.

“With interest rates nearing zero and even moving into negative territory in some developed countries, it will be increasingly difficult for Australian banks continue to pay depositors positive interest rates for their money or a dividend that recognises investors’ cost of capital.”

Mr Sulicich said smaller banks are constrained by entrenched regulation that favours the bigger banks.

“Smaller banks’ ability to compete has been crimped as we need to hold more capital on the same loans and funding is more expensive,” Mr Sulicich said.

“In our opinion, the banking environment and competitive and regulatory landscape remains tilted away from smaller banks like MyState. We need to hold more capital than the larger banks for similar loans and the larger banks still receive funding cost advantages due to an implicit government guarantee. 

“This reduces smaller banks’ ability to earn a return and compete for customers. We continue to talk to the government and regulators to find ways to address this imbalance.”

Savings.com.au’s October rate cut tracker shows at least three lenders passed on the full rate cut to home loan interest rates this month.

Looking for a low variable rate home loan? The table below displays owner-occupier products which may represent the best of the big four banks, best of the top 10 customer-owned banks and the best of the larger non-banks.

Provider
Ad rate
p.a.
Comp rate*
p.a.
Monthly
repayments
 
2.63% 2.65% $1,607 More details
2.78% 2.84% $1,639 More details

Base criteria of: a $400,000 loan amount, variable, principal and interest (P&I) home loans with an LVR (loan-to-value) ratio of at least 80%. The product and rate must be clearly published on the Product Provider’s web site. Introductory rate products were not considered for selection. Monthly repayments were calculated based on the selected products’ advertised rates, applied to a $400,000 loan with a 30-year loan term. Rates correct as at 26 March 2020. View disclaimer.


Disclaimers

The entire market was not considered in selecting the above products. Rather, a cut-down portion of the market has been considered which includes retail products from at least the big four banks, the top 10 customer-owned institutions and Australia’s larger non-banks:

  • The big four banks are: ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac
  • The top 10 customer-owned Institutions are the ten largest mutual banks, credit unions and building societies in Australia, ranked by assets under management in November 2019. They are (in descending order): Credit Union Australia, Newcastle Permanent, Heritage Bank, Peoples’ Choice Credit Union, Teachers Mutual Bank, Greater Bank, IMB Bank, Beyond Bank, Bank Australia and P&N Bank.
  • The larger non-bank lenders are those who (in 2019) has more than $9 billion in Australian funded loans and advances. These groups are: Resimac, Pepper, Liberty and Firstmac.

Some providers' products may not be available in all states. To be considered, the product and rate must be clearly published on the product provider's web site.

In the interests of full disclosure, Savings.com.au and loans.com.au are part of the Firstmac Group. To read about how Savings.com.au manages potential conflicts of interest, along with how we get paid, please click through onto the web site links.

*The Comparison rate is based on a $150,000 loan over 25 years. Warning: this comparison rate is true only for this example and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate.

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author-avatar
Emma joined Savings.com.au as a Finance Journalist in 2019. She is a journalist with more than five years experience across print, broadcast and digital media, with previous stints at Style Magazines, 4ZZZ radio, and as editor of The Real Estate Conversation. She's most passionate about improving the financial literacy of young women and millennials by writing about complex financial topics in a way that's easy for the average Joe (or Jill) to understand. When she's not writing about finance she's watching Greys Anatomy (again).

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