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CBA thunders ahead of rivals, Westpac falters

The Commonwealth Bank’s home loan portfolio growth has far exceeded its major competitors, while Westpac’s woes persist, new APRA data has revealed.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has released its latest Monthly Authorised Deposit-taking Institutions Statistics (MADIS), revealing that the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) outstripped its big four peers with home loan portfolio growth of $6.4 billion in the three months to December 2019.  

CBA’s total portfolio grew from $438.4 billion as at 30 September 2019 to a commanding $444.8 billion.

Owner-occupiers led the surge in CBA’s mortgage book, with its owner-occupied portfolio rising by approximately $5.5 billion, from $282.8 billion to $288.3 billion.

The bank also recorded sizeable growth in its investment portfolio, which increased by approximately $900 million, from $155.6 billion to $156.5 billion.

CBA’s December quarter rally came despite data from mortgage aggregator Australian Finance Group (AFG) reporting that the bank’s share (including Bankwest) of broker-channel lodgements slipped from 23.7 per cent to 19.9 per cent.

ANZ back in the black

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ANZ was the only other big four bank to record portfolio growth over the December quarter, albeit marginal, with its book increasing by approximately $300 million, from $246.3 billion to $246.6 billion.

This follows a decline of approximately $1.7 billion in the previous quarter.

ANZ’s overall portfolio growth in the December quarter came exclusively via the owner-occupied book, which increased by approximately $1 billion from $159.7 billion to $160.7 billion.

ANZ’s owner-occupied growth was offset by a contraction of approximately $700 million in its investment portfolio, which declined from $86.6 billion to $85.9 billion.

Westpac woes persist  

Meanwhile, Westpac recorded the sharpest contraction in its home loan portfolio over the three months to 31 December.

The bank’s recent struggles in the home loan market were confirmed with the bank posting a $3-billion slide in its overall book, from $411.2 billion to $408.2 billion.

The major bank’s performance over the quarter was primarily driven by a $2.8 billion contraction in its investment portfolio, which dropped from $184 billion to $181.2 billion.

Westpac’s owner-occupied portfolio decreased marginally by approximately $200 million, from $227.2 billion to $227 billion.

A tale of two channels

NAB’s portfolio contraction was relatively mild, with its overall book down approximately $100 million, from $261.1 billion to $261 billion.

However, NAB’s home lending performance varied considerably when divided by channel.

The thinning of NAB’s overall mortgage book was exclusively driven by a sharp decline of approximately $2.1 billion in its investment portfolio, from $112.6 billion to $110.5 billion.

This was offset by a strong improvement of approximately $2 billion in its owner-occupied book, from $148.5 billion to $150.5 billion.

As in every month, the release of APRA’s statistics coincided with the publication of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s Financial Aggregates data, which reported a 0.3 per cent increase in housing credit growth – in line with the previous month.

However, housing credit growth remains subdued in annual terms, down from growth of 4.7 per cent in the year ending 31 December 2018 to 3.1 per cent.

[Related: APRA confirms expansion of mortgage reporting regime]

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