Australian banks gloomier than overseas peers

by Adam Smith30 Jan 2012

Australian banks have a more pessimistic outlook than their overseas peers, new research has suggested.

According to News Ltd, a report from the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation and PwC has found Australian banks are anxious about the global economy and incoming regulation. The study found Australian bankers ranked "political interference" as their second-greatest fear, compared to their global peers who ranked it fifth.

"To some extent this no doubt reflects the increasing gloom that bankers, no matter which country they work in, regard the immediate future. On a deeper level, it reflects uncertainties in the economic environment and the long journey the Australian banks still have to navigate through ongoing regulatory reforms that are still taking shape," the report said.

PwC banking and capital markets leader Stuart Scoular told News Ltd Australian banks felt they were "unjustly penalised" by a regulatory framework imposed to stop practices that were never common in Australia. Australian Bankers Association CEO Steve Munchenberg agreed.

"We are dealing with major new international rules such as Basel III, the increasing reach of US lawmakers, such as with Dodd Frank and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, and layer on layer of change from the federal government. Compliance with all this regulation adds costs to banks, some of which is passed on to customers," he told News Ltd.

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