Over-regulation a major threat: Heritage chairman

Over-regulation is one of the biggest threats facing Australia’s banking and finance sector, chairman Mr Brian Carter told Heritage Building Society’s Annual General Meeting in Toowoomba today.

Mr Carter told the AGM that the direct cost of regulation to Heritage was more than $3 million a year, and that more than 100 pieces of legislation, regulations or standards impacted on the Society’s operations.

He said that while no-one would argue against the need for proper regulation, there had to be an element of common sense in how that was applied.

“Proper regulation does not mean over-regulation. Australia’s financial institutions have survived the Global Financial Crisis much better than those in many other countries. With that being the case, it is not rocket science to see that the Australian regulators must tread warily in fine-tuning the Australian scenario,” Mr Carter said.

“Over-regulation could well, in the long term, cause more damage than under-regulation. It is a matter of balance. Ultimately, the very people the regulators are trying to protect – the Australian people – are the ones who must bear the cost of over-regulation.”

Mr Carter told the AGM that Heritage had once again posted excellent results for its members last financial year.

“Heritage delivered its 11th consecutive record pre-tax profit of $42.338 million and grew our total consolidated assets to $7.5 billion,” Mr Carter said.

“Just as importantly, we lifted our capital adequacy ratio to 13.85% and our liquidity ratio to 19.21% despite the impacts of the GFC.

“That places us in great position to pursue an increase in members and in our loan book. Our recent announcement of an agreement that gives members direct-fee free access to more than 2,900 Heritage networked ATMs around Australia will also underpin a push for growth this year.”

Mr Carter reinforced that the People first philosophy remained the driving force for the Society.

“Heritage Building Society exists to serve its members. We do so by providing the members with as wide a range of products as possible and at beneficial pricing. The mutual philosophy is at the heart of everything we do,” he said.

* Based on a $150,000 loan over 25 years. WARNING: This comparison rate is true only for the examples given and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate.