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Bank fees on foreign exchange purchases

The Commonwealth Bank sell a Travel Card as a “low fee” way of managing your overseas purchases. They charge $15 for the card, $3-50 per cash withdrawal and the difference between the official exchange rate for Euros today of $1Aust=0.834446Euro and the rate offered by the CBA ($1Aust = 0.7890Euro) is 5.76%. Suppose I took […]

Bank robbery

Over the past 5 years US bankers have been paid $2.2 trillion. That’s roughly twice Australia’s GDP. It is an astounding amount that was not invested in productive assets but spent on fairly useless business executives who drove their firms – and the world economy – to the point of collapse.

This makes the rewards […]

The ‘four pillars’ policy

Melbourne Business School’s Professor Ian Harper has written an article in today’s AFR (subscription required) attacking the ‘Four Pillars’ policy recently reindorsed by the Labor Treasurer. This policy limits mergers between the four major Australian banks.

Professor Harper has two main arguments. One is that such a policy is unnecessary since the ACCC has the […]

St George Bank should not become part of Westpac

The ACCC should object to the proposed takeover by Westpac of the St George Bank on the grounds that it will reduce competition. My guess however is that Treasurer Swan will have already given indications that the merger be permitted.

There would be some cost-savings generated by the merger because branches could be closed and […]