Customer-owned banking surpasses $100bn in assets

Australia’s customer-owned banking sector has reached $100 billion in total assets, the latest quarterly figures from APRA have shown.

According to the figures, a surge in home loan growth helped lift the sector to $101 billion in total assets. 

For the quarter ended June 2016, mutual ADIs (comprising mutual banks, credit unions, mutual building societies and other mutual ADIs) boosted their total assets by $2.3 billion on the previous quarter, and nearly $7 billion more than the same period last year.

Further, mutual ADIs made $803 million in interest income on housing loans in the quarter ended Jun 2016, up from $793 in the same period in 2015. The average deposits for the quarter also rose year-on-year, up to $86 billion in 2016 from $80 billion in the June quarter 2015.

Speaking of the figures, the CEO of the Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA), Mark Degotardi, said: “We’ve seen ... through the APRA data that more and more Australian families are taking out a loan with us and achieving their dream of buying a home.

“Reaching $100 billion in assets further underlines that the customer-owned model, with its four million customers, is the proven alternative to the listed model in retail banking.”

Mr Degotardi added that mutual banks, building societies and credit unions were delivering “highly competitive pricing and an unmatched customer focus”, and noted that they benefitted from not having the “tension of trying to maximise returns to a separate group of shareholders”.

He continued: “We can provide even more effective competition and choice in banking if we have a level playing field and a fair go from regulators.

“Our top priority is prompt implementation of the Financial System Inquiry (FSI) recommendations 1, 2 and 3 on regulatory capital. Urgent action is needed to reduce the unfair funding cost advantage that major banks enjoy due to current regulatory capital settings.”

Noting that the government has said it will work to “reduce the advantages the larger banks have over their smaller counterparts, increasing competition and leading to better outcomes for consumers”, Mr Degotardi said that he hoped the government would ensure the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) — which is largely responsible for implementing the recommendations in the FSI — “gives sufficient priority to this task”.

[Related: Mutual banks outpace majors for mortgage growth]

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Annie Kane

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