The head of the prudential regulator does not expect APRA’s “unquestionably strong” capital benchmarks to have much of an impact on borrowers.
The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has released its response to the first round of consultation on proposed changes to the capital framework for authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs).
The package of proposed changes, first released in February last year, flows from the finalised Basel III reforms, as well as the Financial System Inquiry recommendation for the capital ratios of Australian ADIs to be “unquestionably strong”.
“ADIs that already meet the ‘unquestionably strong’ capital targets that APRA announced in July 2017 should not need to raise additional capital to meet these new measures. Rather, the measures aim to reinforce the safety and stability of the ADI sector by better aligning capital requirements with underlying risk, especially with regards to residential mortgage lending,” the regulator said.
The response paper details revised capital requirements for residential mortgages, credit risk and operational risk requirements under the standardised approaches, as well as a simplified capital framework for small, less complex ADIs.
Other measures proposed in the February 2018 discussion paper, as well as improvements to the transparency, comparability and flexibility of the ADI capital framework, will be consulted on in a subsequent response paper due to be released in the second half of 2019.
After taking into account both industry feedback and the findings of a quantitative impact study, APRA is proposing to revise some of its initial proposals, including:
• for residential mortgages, some narrowing in the capital difference that applies to lower-risk owner-occupied, principal-and-interest mortgages and all other mortgages
• more granular risk weight buckets and the recognition of additional types of collateral for SME lending, as recommended by the Productivity Commission in its report on Competition in the Financial System
• lower risk weights for credit cards and personal loans secured by vehicles
In setting out these latest proposals, APRA has sought to balance its primary objectives of implementing the Basel III reforms and “unquestionably strong” capital ratios with a range of important secondary objectives, APRA chair Wayne Byres said.
“These objectives include targeting the structural concentration in residential mortgages in the Australian banking system and ensuring an appropriate competitive outcome between different approaches to measuring capital adequacy.
“With regard to the impact of risk weights on competition in the mortgage market, APRA has previously made changes that mean any differential in overall capital requirements is already fairly minimal. APRA does not intend that the changes in this package of proposals should materially change that calibration, and will use the consultation process and quantitative impact study to ensure that is achieved.
“It is also important to note that the proposals announced today will not require ADIs to hold any capital additional beyond the targets already announced in relation to the unquestionably strong benchmarks, nor do we expect to see any material impact on the availability of credit for borrowers,” Mr Byres said.
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