In a bid to determine whether or not it was appropriate for Australia’s lenders to move their rates independently of the cash rate, the Reserve Bank of Australia has launched an investigation into the true cost of funds.
Earlier this month, all four of Australia’s majors moved their rates independently of the Reserve Bank, blaming “higher funding costs”.
ANZ chief executive Phil Chronican said the bank could no longer “absorb the additional funding costs in the hope that funding pressures would ease”.
“Margins in retail and business banking have now been squeezed for a number of months and we’ve taken the difficult decision to pass on part of the higher costs to customers while we also get on with taking action to reshape the bank for tougher times,” he said.
As such, the Reserve Bank is now set to interview banking executives and release a report on the true cost of funds next month.
The investigation comes one week after French Bank Société Générale labelled Australia’s funding cost problems “dubious”.
According to research by Société Générale using publicly available data from the Reserve Bank and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, nearly all funding costs are falling.
“What we have seen over the last six months is that overall funding costs for Australian banks have absolutely come down. Research suggests that effectively pretty much every source of funding that they use - in terms of domestic deposits, short-term funding onshore, long-term funding onshore - has actually gone down,” Société Générale's head of strategy in Asia Christian Carrillo told the ABC