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Banks in the firing line as interest rates soar

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The rising interest rates pose a significant risk for banks as they anticipate a potential surge in bad loans and defaults, writes contributor Will Banks

This concern is further amplified by the recession pressures on the global economy. If this scenario unfolds, a substantial number of mortgage holders may find themselves unable to keep up with their repayments.

Australia is not exempt from these risks, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently warning that the level of risk in Australia’s housing market is the second highest in the developed world.

The IMF has identified higher levels of household debt, rising interest rates contributing to higher mortgage rates, and elevated house prices as factors that increase the risk of defaulting on mortgage repayments for Australian households with mortgages.

Today’s recession fears versus the GFC: What’s the difference? READ MORE

The IMF also notes that economies with higher house prices and household debt are particularly vulnerable to stresses in the financial sector, although it acknowledges that banks are better capitalised now than during the global financial crisis.

Despite this concern, Australia’s major banks have experienced a highly profitable 18- months, with earnings reaching nearly $AUD 30 billion, in 2022. The Commonwealth Bank (CBA) reported record 2023 half-year cash profit of $5.15 billion, representing a 9% increase. This substantial profit growth can be attributed to the rapid-fire interest rate rises, having inflated the bank’s profit margins.

In response to this positive financial performance, the bank significantly raised its dividend rate and increased the size of its share buyback program, actions that are expected to be well-received by shareholders.

KPMG: Major Australian Banks: Half Year 2023 Results Analysis

KPMG: Major Australian Banks: Half Year 2023 Results Analysis

On June 6th, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) raised the cash rate target by 25 basis points to 4.10 per cent. The decision by the RBA in response to inflation in Australia, is likely to take some time before it returns to the target range. The banks should therefore not be complacent and understand the potential consequences of the current economic climate and consider measures to mitigate

the risks associated with higher mortgage repayments and the possibility recession pressures. It also remains to be seen how these challenges will unfold in the 12 to 24 month and how banks will navigate through them.

Bank profitability

Prevailing interest rates are a significant factor influencing a bank’s profitability. While rising interest rates can present challenges, they also create opportunities for banks to generate sustainable profits. Banks can achieve this by focusing on their net interest margin, which is the difference between the interest earned from lending and the interest paid on deposits. As interest rates rise, banks can adjust the rates they charge on loans to reflect the higher cost of funds. This allows them to preserve or even expand their net interest margin, ultimately leading to increased profitability.

CBA is a good example of this, as they have been increasing their lending rates at a faster pace than their deposits, which serve as their primary source of funding. In the last quarter, CBA’s net interest margin, rose by 18 basis points to 2.1%, underscoring record profit.

Australian banks have also benefited from having a diversified loan book.

By offering a mix of fixed-rate and variable-rate loans, banks can mitigate the impact of rising interest rates. Fixed-rate loans ensure a stable income stream as they are not directly influenced by interest rate fluctuations. On the other hand, variable-rate loans provide opportunities for these banks to adjust interest rates to align with market conditions. This diversification helps banks’ balance their risk exposure and maintain profitability.

Effective capital management is also crucial for banks during periods of rising interest rates.

As interest rates increase, the market value of fixed-rate assets can decline, potentially impacting a bank’s capital position. Banks must assess their capital adequacy and manage their asset-liability mix appropriately. This may involve adjusting the term of assets and liabilities to mitigate interest rate risk. Prudent capital management strategies enable banks to maintain a strong capital base and absorb potential shocks, safeguarding profitability.

On the other hand, other opportunities arise through investment and trading activities, with increasing yields on fixed-income securities.

Banks play a crucial role in ensuring economic stability by providing support to customers, maintaining strong capital reserves, practicing responsible lending, and collaborating with regulators. Through these efforts, banks must make significant contributions to the overall stability and strength of the financial system.

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Money

Rich listers secret’s: how billionaires build their wealth

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Australian billionaires, including Gina Rinehart, have built their wealth by investing in valuable, income-generating assets.

For the average person looking to build their wealth, one possible option could be to buy quality assets like stocks when the market dips.

Mark Wyld from MW Wealth joins to discuss. #featured #trending #wyld money

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Buyer’s agent unveils key to building wealth through property

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Unveiling the strategies for game-changing wealth building through property.

Wyld Money dives into the world of financial freedom. Whether you’re a seasoned investor or just getting started, join us for actionable tips and tricks to unlock your earning potential, and retire on your own terms.

In this episode, Mark is joined by Buyers Agent, Jack Henderson from Henderson Advocates. #trending #wyld money

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Experts unveil the secrets to crypto ‘prop trading’

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What is crypto proprietary trading and how can it benefit you?

Bitcoin 101 is an exciting talk show that educates viewers on safe participation in crypto markets, providing timely updates and expert insights for informed decision-making.

Hosted by the Managing Director of Crypto CallsCheyne Kupfer.

In this episode, Cheyne sits down with Growth Partner at Crypto Calls, Jack Birkinshaw to talk all things prop trading.

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