How to navigate Australia’s regional banking industry
Australia is one of the most rapidly growing economies in the world, but in some areas, its financial services sector is not as diversified as it could be.
A new study by Australia’s Financial Services Industry Association (FSIA) has warned that Australia is not adequately prepared to meet the growing needs of its regional banking sector.
The report by the Australian Centre for Financial Services Research and the Centre for Regional Studies at the University of New South Wales says that while Australia’s regions are facing challenges from financial centre outages and high costs of living, there are “very few areas of financial services that are in particularly good shape”.
The Australian Centre says that regional banks are facing pressures on their balance sheets and their ability to maintain their independence, as a result of rising costs and rising demand.
It argues that regional banking needs to be seen as a complement to the larger financial services sectors.
“Our research shows that while regional banks can provide an important source of income for regions, they have been underperforming relative to the global financial services market,” the report’s authors write.
“[Their] financial sector needs to diversify into a wider range of areas, including asset management, corporate banking, insurance and securities lending, credit-card lending, and financial technology, and this is where the Australian banks have been missing.”
In order to make sure they can meet their financial needs, regional banks must find ways to manage their business.
They need to develop an operational strategy to better manage the risk of a regional bank being unable to meet its obligations to the local community, and to meet their obligations to their investors and clients.
Australia’s financial services industry is one where the banking industry is a key driver of the economy.
The financial sector employs over 100,000 people, employs over 4.5 million Australians and generates over $US100 billion in economic activity.
The Australian Financial Services Association (AFSA) says the banking sector employs more than 20,000 full-time and contract employees, with more than 6,000 staff in the financial services and consumer-facing sectors.
Its report says that although regional banks account for about 2 per cent of the Australian economy, they account for almost 70 per cent (35 per cent) of the financial sector workforce.
While regional banks have made some progress in diversifying their businesses and their workforce, they still have work to do.
“The financial services workforce has been underfunded and understaffed for a long time,” the AFSA report says.
It also points to the need for regional banks to take the reins on their own and to take on responsibility for the financial stability of their regions.
The report says regional banks need to “develop an operational plan that addresses the challenges of managing their financial services businesses and financial services employees in an effective manner”.
It is imperative that regional bank managers and directors learn from the experience of their counterparts in the larger finance and investment banking industry and adopt a “pragmatic approach” to managing their regions financial services operations, the AFASA report argues.
It recommends that regional financial services banks undertake a risk assessment exercise, look at their existing assets and take on the responsibilities that arise from the roles of regional bankers, including managing risk, working collaboratively with other regions, and supporting their customers and the community.
In the meantime, the financial industry needs to ensure its own financial stability.
If regional banks cannot manage their own business and financial operations in an efficient and cost effective manner, they risk losing the support of their customers, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) warns.
There are also significant risks associated with regional banking.
The financial industry has to manage its own risks, including the risks of a bank’s inability to deliver on its obligations.
This means regional banks should be able to develop a robust financial management strategy and ensure that their financial businesses are operating safely and efficiently.
Regional banks also need to ensure they can attract and retain staff in areas that are less likely to be impacted by the downturn in the Australian banking market.
The Federal Government is set to unveil a plan to boost regional banks in July.
However, in order to support these financial services jobs, regional bankers should develop an operating plan that ensures they are able to operate and operate at a level of financial independence, the report suggests.
What is regional banking?
Australia’s Financial Sector Association (FSA) has a report titled “Regional Banking: How to Navigate Australia’s Regional Banking Industry” available to download at: https://www.financialservices.gov.au/regional-banks-and-services/reports/regdb-regional.pdf