ASIC responsible lending crimps credit: ANZ

(From AFR 28/3/2019)

ANZ Banking Group chief executive Shayne Elliott has rebuffed Australian Securities and Investments Commission chief prosecutor Dan Crennan’s ambitions to lock bankers in jail, arguing regulators should prioritise a “fully functioning financial system” to support the economy.

Mr Elliott warned the corporate regulator’s tougher enforcement of responsible lending laws is hurting would-be borrowers and crimping credit flowing to the economy because fearful bankers have become overly conservative in approving loans.

“I do think banks’ risk appetite has had a significant impact.”

— ANZ chief Shayne Elliott

The ANZ chief said ASIC’s more stringent interpretation and application of lending standards meant some home buyers and businesses “will find it harder to borrow“.

Mr Elliott admitted ANZ had been too cautious in cutting back on loans in the royal commission environment and was now seeking to lend more to home buyers and business.

Our challenge is finding the right balance of prudence and availability within the regulatory framework,” he said.

If we are to serve society, we must support the economy by lending responsibly, and that is what we’re aiming to do.

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