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Why New Zealand could cause the share prices of big 4 ASX banks like ANZ to fall

The share prices of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA), National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB and Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) could face further share price declines because of New Zealand.

According to reporting by Bloomberg, New Zealand’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ), will announce this week how much capital it expects New Zealand banks to hold to be able to weather a severe economic shock to the local and global economy.

The big ASX banks are considering whether they should sell or shrink their New Zealand operations if the RBNZ decides to increase the amount of Tier 1 to 16%, which is a high percentage even compared to the level that APRA wants.

If NAB, ANZ and the others have to increase their capital levels then it would undoubtedly add pressure on the banks’ profitability and dividends. Bloomberg quoted Tim Roche, Fitch Rating’s head of Australia and New Zealand financial institutions:

“There is general pressure on profitability across the board right now, with slow credit growth, low interest rates and increased scrutiny impacting fee income.”

Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG) analysts have estimated that each of Westpac, NAB and ANZ would need to add between $4 billion to $5 billion to meet the new requirements. However, CBA apparently has enough capital.

Foolish takeaway

It makes it even harder for the banks to maintain their dividends and profits if they have to hold more capital. In a once-in-a-generation event more capital would make the system safer, but in all of the years that there isn’t a crash it would reduce the profitability.

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Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Macquarie Group Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of National Australia Bank Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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