Sunday, January 10, 2010

Exporting risk to helpful foreigners

“The bank workers union Finsec wants tougher regulation of banks. It says dividends paid to their parent companies, are "unacceptably huge".

Finsec says the combined profit of Australian-owned banks in the last financial year was $790 million and dividends were more than $1.7 billion.

The union says that is more than 200% of their profits. It says the dividends are "not acceptable" when New Zealand has just come through a recession.”

Leaving aside the fairly attractive proposition of how one pays $1.7 billion in dividends when one makes only $0.79 billion in profits for a moment, there still seems to be zero understanding of the fact that we exported at least $790.0m worth of risk to helpful foreign shareholders – mainly Australians – who bore that risk for the banks, their owners, depositors and workers.

There are many thousands of former Lehman Bros employees who no doubt wish they had been able to have the bank’s owners export risk as successfully.

The Aus / NZ banking sector represents one of the great survival stories of the recession – due in no small part to its competitive ownership structure.

No comments:

Post a Comment