The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Swannie: Banks can pass on rate cuts because of world-beating return on equity

According to Business Spectator:

But Mr Swan made it clear on Wednesday that he will be on their profitable backs again should the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) cut rates after its board meeting on February 7.

"I'm sorry, they are at record levels of profitability," he said in Brisbane after the release of benign quarterly inflation figures.

"They have a return on equity which is virtually unequalled by any other bank in the world."

Mr Swan said while the banks argued their future funding needs would cost more, their net interest margins - or profits on lending - were about the same level as they were prior to the global financial crisis.

He also pointed out the banks were raising more funding locally through domestic deposits and were less dependent on offshore funding because of initiatives such as covered bonds.

"There would be a lot of people out there in Australia who will judge them harshly if they take actions that they deem to be unreasonable in the current environment when they are so profitable," Mr Swan said.

"But at the end of the day the government doesn't regulate these rates. What I can do is speak up about it, outline the facts, and make the system more competitive so that if people are unhappy with their banks they can walk down the road and get a better deal."