Why it could be harder for neobanks to launch in Australia

author-avatar By on March 19, 2021
Why it could be harder for neobanks to launch in Australia

Following Xinja's exit, NAB's planned purchase of 86 400, and Volt still not having a publicly live product, requirements for new bank launches have tightened.

In a discussion paper released yesterday, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), announced it would change the framework in how it grants banking licences.

The changing framework includes: "Focusing applicants and new entrants on longer term sustainability rather than the short-term ambition of receiving a licence and becoming an ADI". 

An 'Authorised Deposit-taking Institution' (ADI) is a banking licence granted to financial institutions so they can take deposits, as well as lend money. 

"Achieving an ADI licence is a milestone, not a destination, given the considerable development that continues in the years following authorisation. While there remain two pathways to authorisation, the desired destination is the same: sustainability," APRA's paper said.

Other stipulations include new entrants having more advanced planning for an exit, increased transparency to stakeholders of capital requirements, and that "entities should launch products before being granted an ADI licence".

"This revised approach effectively targets key risks for new entrants, setting a higher bar for gaining a bank licence, while enhancing competition by making it more likely new entrants can find their feet and gain a firm foothold in the market," APRA's deputy chair John Lonsdale said.

As a result of raising barriers to entry, APRA forecasts that there could be fewer licence applications.

This follows Xinja's exit from banking, and NAB's planned purchase of 86 400 within four years of the bank launching.

Yesterday, Volt announced it has teamed up with finance platform Railsbank to distribute Volt's products, with Volt not having a publicly live product two years after being granted an ADI.

However, it has amassed 8,000 customers and $85 million in deposits with the savings account in 'beta'.

APRA is welcoming submissions to the revised framework until the end of April. 


Buying a home or looking to refinance? The table below features home loans with some of the lowest interest rates on the market for owner occupiers.

Base criteria of: a $400,000 loan amount, variable, fixed, principal and interest (P&I) home loans with an LVR (loan-to-value) ratio of at least 80%. If products listed have an LVR <80%, they will be clearly identified in the product name along with the specific LVR. The product and rate must be clearly published on the Product Provider’s web site. Monthly repayments were calculated based on the selected products’ advertised rates, applied to a $400,000 loan with a 30-year loan term.

Home loan rate rises a sign of things to come?

Speaking of neobanks, Adelaide Bank (which shares an ADI licence with Up Bank) raised two home loans by 54 basis points today, or a little over half a percentage point.

These rate rises were:

  • Owner Occupier SmartFix P&I 5 Years: Up to 2.88% p.a. (3.02% p.a. comparison rate*)
  • Owner Occupier SmartSaver P&I 5 Years: Up to 2.88% p.a. (2.83% p.a. comparison rate*)

'SmartFix' and 'SmartSaver' home loans fixed for four years were also raised by 29 basis points, and the SmartFix and SmartSaver products fixed for four years for investors were raised by 10 basis points.

These rate rises, while from just one lender, could be a sign that banks are predicting a rate rise sooner than the Reserve Bank has said.

Positive jobs data released yesterday, up to pre-COVID levels, is one factor in financial markets 'pricing in' at least one 25 basis point rate rise by the end of next year and an additional hike in 2023, according to the Australian Financial Review.

The Reserve Bank's Term Funding Facility is also set to be re-tooled from July, ending billions in low-cost funding for banks, which some pundits predict will spell an end to 'record low' fixed home loan rates.

With that said, it was a busy week for home loan rate cuts, with NAB, and Homestar slashing interest rates on fixed products. 


Photo by Karla Hernandez on Unsplash

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 2020. 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 2020) has more than $9 billion in Australian funded loans and advances. These groups are: Resimac, Pepper, Liberty and Firstmac.
  • If you click on a product link and you are referred to a Product or Service Provider’s web page, it is highly likely that a commercial relationship exists between that Product or Service Provider and Savings.com.au

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, Performance Drive 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
Harrison joined Savings in 2020. He is an experienced journalist, with previous stints at News Corp and financial comparison site Canstar. With a keen interest in personal finance, Harrison is passionate about helping consumers make more informed financial decisions.

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