Westpac’s Brian Hartzer says the accusation that lenders are lowering their credit standards in the rush to sign up new customers is inaccurate, but warns that banks need to be ‘alert to the possibility of things getting ahead of themselves’.
Speaking at a business lunch in Sydney this week, Hartzer also reportedly called for increased skilled immigration and greater use of government debt to invest in infrastructure.
As reported by Australian Broker, banks’ lending practices have recently come under scrutiny, amid signs the big four are writing more home loans that require smaller deposits.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Harzer, who runs the division holding Westpac’s retail bank and St George and who is viewed as a potential successor to current CEO, Gail Kelly, says there has been no loosening in credit standards at the major bank.
‘‘We certainly don’t see any loosening in credit standards, but I think it’s certainly prudent that everybody remains alert to that…‘When we look at households’ capacity to cover their borrowing requirements, we still think it’s pretty good. Nevertheless, we think it’s prudent to continue to be cautious. We do need to be alert to the possibility of things getting ahead of themselves.”