Who’d have thought that we’d end the year with a government guarantee for credit union and building society deposits, falling interest rates, increasing regulation (less of a surprise) and a decimated securitisation sector?
Who’d have thought we’d hear directors of a major listed company (James Hardie) deny the accuracy of board minutes and admit that they didn’t read all their board papers?
That St George Bank and Bank West would be no more than brand names?
That the stock market and superannuation funds had lost billions of dollars?
And that despite increasing supervision, huge frauds were still being perpetrated?
When we started the year, we had a new Federal Labor Government, interest rates were rising, the sub-prime crisis had just started, liquidity was a looming issue and de-regulation was the catchcry. Margin lending and short selling were commonplace.
By mid-year, the prudent managers had gone “back to basics”.
What’s in store for 2009?
My tips: continuing emphasis by regulators on systems and controls, compliance, governance, liquidity, capital and disclosure.
The Mutual Banking Code of Practice, the EFT Code changes, new personal property securities law and the transfer of consumer credit regulation to the Commonwealth will have an impact on procedures and operating costs during the year .
Privacy and data breaches will be an increasing risk as credit unions rely more and more on technology.
Competition from the big banks will increase. But corporate ethics and mutuality will become more important.
Mergers will continue as increasing pressure is placed on boards and management.
And there’ll be quite a few things that I didn’t see coming!
Here’s to a successful 2009!