Monday, October 30, 2023

ANZ CEO warns of global crisis potential from banking turmoil


According to Shayne Elliott, CEO of the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, the recent turmoil in the global banking system has the potential to trigger a financial crisis, but it is too early to predict if it could lead to a repeat of the 2008 crisis. Elliott believes that it is premature to assume that the current condition could result in “another GFC”. He was referring to the global financial crisis about 15 years ago that plunged the world’s major advanced economies into their worst recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

Authorities around the world are on high alert for the fallout from recent turmoil at banks following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank in the US and the emergency takeover of Credit Suisse. However, Elliott believes that this is a different issue. He thinks that this is really to do with the global war on inflation and how central banks are raising rates very quickly in order to combat that, and that has casualties.

Australian banks did not suffer as much as those in the US and Britain during the 2008 crisis, thanks in part to tighter lending standards and a more resilient home economy. However, after the collapse of startup-focused lender SVB, Australia’s banking regulator said it had intensified supervision of the local banking industry and sought more information on the potential impact.

Global regulators have acted much quicker to support banks this time, having learned lessons from prior crises, according to Elliott. He said that it was clearly not over yet. He does not think that one can sit here and say: “Well, that’s all done, Silicon Valley Bank and Credit Suisse and, you know, life will go back to normal”. These things tend to roll through over a long period of time.

Rachel Slade, head of retail banking at National Australia Bank, the country’s second-largest lender, told the Australian Financial Review on Monday that mortgage customers had started showing first signs of strain after 10 straight rate rises, but there were no spikes yet on defaults. Treasurer Jim Chalmers said Australia was in a good position to hold out against some of the volatility because its banks were well-capitalised and had strong liquidity.

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