ANZ boss expects short-term economic hit from pandemic

ANZ boss expects short-term economic hit from pandemic

ANZ Bank chief executive Shayne Elliott says the lender is well-placed to support distressed customers through an expected coronavirus-induced downturn of about six months, saying shareholders will back the bank in “doing the right thing for the nation.”

Although he acknowledged the crisis would have a “devastating” impact for some in the community, the big four CEO said the balance sheets of Australian banks were in a very strong position, and the pandemic was more predictable than the global financial crisis.

ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott said Australian banks had never held more capital.Credit:AFR

Amid predictions banks will face a rising tide of bad debts caused by the crisis, Mr Elliott said that unlike past financial crises, banks had a “reasonably good idea” of how long the downturn would last.

“You can see that with effective policy and swift action, this can be a three, four, five-month impact. The good news from that is, as a bank, if that’s the case, we’re much better equipped to help customers see through a three- to six-month period of difficulty than an unknown period of difficulty,” Mr Elliott told the bank’s online publication bluenotes.

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