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A clear leader emerges among Aussie banks

A clear leader emerges among Aussie banks

Nothing beats living on an island and nothing beats living on an island and owning the only bank. The cozy banking oligopoly that exists on the island of Australia as well as high switching costs for customers has produced all the benefits associated with a wide competitive advantage.

Are you going to bother moving if your bank charges you a few cents more for each ATM withdrawal, EFTPOS transaction or EFTPOS cash-out? With 70 million ATM transactions per month, 150 million EFTPOS and EFTPOS cash out transactions per month and 30 million debit card accounts, a few extra cents charged per transaction and account is a valuable revenue generator for banks with very little additional work or cost and virtually no risk of customer loss.

In the past the banks were all the same from an investors perspective too, but there’s a change in the air. The recent capital raisings have done significant damage to the value of three of the major four banks in Australia.

When ANZ, NAB and WBC were raising capital to shore up their balance sheets, CBA was raising capital to take advantage of opportunities in a distressed market, and acquired BankWest. It shored up its profitability in the process and now has the highest ROE of all the banks at 19% and based on consensus estimates will return 21% on its equity for the next 2 years. This compares favourably with the ANZ (11%), NAB (12%) and WBC (13%).

After two decades, a clear leader for investors has emerged in Australian banking.

By Roger Montgomery, 9 September 2009

This post was contributed by a representative of Montgomery Investment Management Pty Limited (AFSL No. 354564). The principal purpose of this post is to provide factual information and not provide financial product advice. Additionally, the information provided is not intended to provide any recommendation or opinion about any financial product. Any commentary and statements of opinion however may contain general advice only that is prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial circumstances or needs. Because of this, before acting on any of the information provided, you should always consider its appropriateness in light of your personal objectives, financial circumstances and needs and should consider seeking independent advice from a financial advisor if necessary before making any decisions. This post specifically excludes personal advice.


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  1. Enjoying your move online . SRV looks like your type of business – maybe a blog on this one might be of interest to your audience . ( at least myself )

    Keep up the good work , looking forward to the book .

    Paul Wallace .

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