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Outlook turns negative for mutual banks

  • May 28 2020
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Borrow

Outlook turns negative for mutual banks

By Cameron Micallef
May 28 2020

An investor service has revised its outlook for mutual banks to negative, as the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Outlook turns negative for mutual banks

Outlook turns negative for mutual banks

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  • May 28 2020
  • Share

An investor service has revised its outlook for mutual banks to negative, as the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Outlook turns negative for mutual banks

Moody’s Investor Service has announced that it has revised its outlook for Australian mutual financial institutions to negative, due to weakened economic activity and rising unemployment weighing on asset quality, profitability and capitalisation throughout the rest of this year and into 2021.

Moody’s analyst Tanya Tang stated that due to a heavy focus on residential mortgages, the mutual sector is “heavily exposed to employment and housing market conditions”, meaning changes in Australians working situations will hurt the bank.

According to Moody’s, households are facing significant financial stress with residential mortgage loans that require repayment deferrals surging by between 5-10 per cent of mutual financial institutions’ mortgage books.

However, eventual loan losses will be limited by generally conservative underwriting standards across the mutual sector, according to the investor service.

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Further, Moody’s expects reported nonperforming loan (NPL) ratios to rise once lenders start to lift their six-month mortgage deferral periods for borrowers in financial distress, which have been in place since March 2020.

According to Moody’s, NPL ratios in the mutual sector will likely remain below Australia’s banking industry average, due to their lower-risk business models that are focused on residential asset-backed finance.

Yet mutuals with heavier exposure to the most affected regions or sectors may need to increase provisions more than their peers, according to Moody’s.

At the same time, deposit growth will continue, underpinning mutuals’ funding.

“A steep increase in credit costs and narrowing net interest margins will weigh on profitability and, combined with growing capital consumption from weaker asset quality, will pressure capital ratios,” Ms Tang noted.

The investment analysis highlights if Australia’s macroeconomic outlook improves mutuals could be revised to stable, based on better than expected economic recovery and employment figures.

“Moody’s baseline scenario is that coronavirus-driven economic disruptions will continue through the second quarter of 2020, followed by a modest recovery starting in the second half and continuing through 2021,” the report stated.

“Due to the lagging impact of an economic recovery on employment and household incomes, the mutual sector is likely to face an extended recovery in asset quality.”

Outlook turns negative for mutual banks
Outlook turns negative for mutual banks
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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