Australia's big four banks are the most profitable in the world, a global study has claimed.
The Bank of International Settlements has said Australia's major banks saw a higher rise in pre-tax earnings as a share of their total assets than banks in 10 other developed countries, Fairfax has reported. The result marks the fourth consecutive year Australian major banks have bested their international counterparts in terms of profitability.
The report also revealed that the four Australian major banks enjoyed wider net interest margins and lower costs than the majority of overseas banks, Fairfax said.
The Australian Bankers Association has rejected the idea that the report indicates a lack of competition in the banking sector, with CEO Stephen Munchenberg claiming the majors' profitability is indicative of the relative strength of the Australian economy.
"We've got stronger economic growth and we've got lower unemployment than a lot of countries. The banking industry believes that markets and bank products are competitive," Munchenberg said.